- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A full-sized pickup rear-ended a stopped school bus about three miles east of Polson, sending three students to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, the Montana Highway Patrol said.

The driver of the pickup was arrested on suspicion of three counts of felony criminal endangerment. Daniel Fellows, 19, of Bigfork, appeared in Justice Court on Tuesday, where his bail was set at $10,000.

Ten or 11 students were on the bus at the time of the crash Monday afternoon. One student was getting off the bus at the time of impact and was thrown several feet, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Terry Rosenbaum said. One middle school student was sitting in the back of the bus, but the vehicle’s engine is in the back, “which probably accounted for a lot of why nobody was killed,” Rosenbaum said.

Just before the crash, the pickup had illegally passed another stopped school bus and it was traveling at significant speed when it struck the bus, Rosenbaum said.

“The pickup didn’t apply brakes, didn’t make an evasive turn to avoid the bus, nothing like that,” Rosenbaum said. “He just rammed into it.”

He plans to review video from both buses as part of the investigation, Rosenbaum said. The driver told officers his cruise control was set at 78 mph, he said.

The posted speed limit for that stretch of highway is 55 mph, with a suggested 45 mph on the curve where the crash happened.

About 30 minutes before the crash, Lake County dispatchers received a report of a white pickup truck driving “all over the road and making bad passes,” near St. Ignatius, Rosenbaum said.

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