From one Columbus to another

Ohio Scouts have unexpected adventure
Thursday, July 5, 2018

SCN photo by Mikaela Koski

Boy Scout Troop 256 from Pickerington, Ohio.

When a group of Ohio Boy Scouts, ranging in age from 12-18, set off last week on their annual “high adventure trip,” they expected to tour and camp at sites including the Badlands of South Dakota, Yellowstone National Park, and Wyoming’s Grand Tetons.

What they were not expecting was the type of adventure they encountered outside of Columbus Monday evening.

While the “very bumpy bus ride” the members of Boy Scout Troop 256 from Pickerington, Ohio – a suburb of Columbus, Ohio – experienced in the median of Interstate-90 may have led to an unexpected stop along the way, the 30 people from the Buckeye State were introduced to the hospitality of Stillwater County.

According to the call for service, at 5:06 p.m. Monday evening, the troop’s bus was in a motor vehicle accident near mile marker 411, about three miles east of Columbus.

The reporting party stated that he was in the bus, and that it went into the median. The bus did not roll and made it out of the median and onto the shoulder of the interstate.

Troop leaders and chaperones described a scene of passengers being roughly jostled around and becoming airborne from their seats.

The call for service specifically indicates a back injury and broken nose, and “a few” of the passengers were taken to Stillwater Billings Clinic. According to troop leaders, the scout master and bus driver each sustained injuries serious enough to warrant hospital stays. Otherwise, the rest of the group sustained minor injuries including a broken toe, some bumps and bruises, and some soreness.

The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Through the hard work and cooperation of various city and county agencies, the accident scene was efficiently cleared, and the passengers of the bus were provided for. Assistant Scout Master Dave Hertl was impressed at how fast the first responders reacted, and with all of the accommodations made for Troop 256 and their chaperones.

Fire Chief Rich Cowger lead the emergency efforts. In addition to Columbus Fire Rescue, Park City fire and ambulance responded with mutual aid. Cody Keller out of Absarokee’s emergency crew also assisted. The Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office, Montana Highway Patrol, and the Columbus Police Department all played a role.

Stillwater County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Carol Arkell helped coordinate the efforts, and she noted the tremendous amount of “behind the scenes teamwork” that took place Monday evening.

The Columbus School District bussed the group of uninjured Scouts and adults back to Columbus Middle School, where the troop was able to utilize the facilities, eat dinner, and camp out overnight.

Tuesday morning, the group boarded a new bus to continue on to Yellowstone and finish the rest of their trip as planned.

Next Sunday, the Boy Scouts will be back in Pickerington with stories from their trip, including a story about a bus accident in the middle of Montana, and the people of another town named Columbus who came to their rescue.