3 students injured after bus rolls over in Fillmore County (2024)

PRESTON, Minn. — Three students from Winona Middle School were injured in a school bus rollover crash on Friday, May 31, 2024.

The sixth-grade class was on a field trip to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park when one of the buses “ended up on its side” on 212th Street near Preston, according to Winona Area Public Schools Communications Coordinator John Casper and Fillmore County Sheriff John DeGeorge. Thirty-five students and four adults were on the bus. Casper said the class is about 150 to 200 students, though not all students attended the field trip.

The three students injured were transported to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys with “minor injuries.” The students on the bus were transported in vans to Winona Middle School where parents can pick up their children. Casper said students also had “some bumps and bruises” which were treated at the crash scene.

“We are grateful for the immediate and compassionate response of Fillmore County law enforcement,” the district wrote in a message to families. “Safety is our top priority, and we are thankful for all the individuals who work together to keep our students and staff safe.”

DeGeorge said the right side tires of the bus likely “drove off the gravel road in an area with a steep shoulder, causing the bus to tip" on its side around 10:11 a.m. Friday. The crash is under investigation. The Minnesota State Patrol will inspect the bus, according to Sgt. Troy Christianson.


The Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office, Wykoff Fire Department, Spring Valley Ambulance, Spring Valley Fire Department and Preston Emergency Services responded to the crash.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, students are arriving at Winona Middle School. The last day of school for Winona Middle and High School students is Thursday, June 6.

“When we send out messages, I always try to give parents resources to deal with it because this can be a scary situation, even if you just hear about it,” Casper said. “(My kids) heard about it and they were alarmed just because they take school buses for field trips. The site that we like to use is the National Association of School Psychologists. (It) has a lot of great resources for parents talking about situations like this with their kids. I'd just say check in with your kids even if you don’t go to Winona Middle School or Winona Area Public Schools. Just the thought of a school bus getting into an accident, it’s a good way to check in with kids and make sure they’re OK.”

Below is the message Winona Area Public Schools shared with families:

Hello families,

This morning, a bus taking Winona Middle School sixth-grade students on a field trip to Mystery Cave and Forestville State Park was involved in an accident on a Fillmore County highway.

The bus ended up on its side. Three students were transported by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. The families of the three students have been contacted by either law enforcement or school administration. Other students and staff who received minor injuries were treated on site.

Ready Bus Company, which provided the buses for the field trip, sent another bus to take students back to the middle school. Some students were understandably not comfortable getting back on a bus, and alternate forms of transportation were being arranged to return them safely back to Winona Middle School. Students and staff were waiting in a safe space away from the road.


Families who would like to pick up their 6th grade middle school student early may do so by contacting the attendance secretary at 507-494-1030.

We are grateful for the immediate and compassionate response of Fillmore County law enforcement. Safety is our top priority, and we are thankful for all the individuals who work together to keep our students and staff safe.

This is a traumatic experience for the students involved in the event and for those who witnessed it. It can also be unsettling for students who hear about it. Please check in with your child throughout the weekend to see if they need help processing what happened. The National Association of School Psychologists has many great resources for parents. This resource provides tips for discussing school violence, but many of the same strategies are applicable to this situation.

Again, we want to thank Fillmore County law enforcement and the emergency first responders for their immediate and compassionate response to help our students and staff during a scary situation.

Thank you,

Winona Area Public Schools

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By Rebecca Mitchell

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in feature reporting as well as enhancing online articles. Readers can reach Rebecca at 507-285-7681 or rmitchell@postbulletin.com.

3 students injured after bus rolls over in Fillmore County (2024)
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