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Video: Kids escape injury when school bus loses control in central Minnesota

A school bus carrying 11 children swerved along a central Minnesota highway and in and out of the ditch Wednesday while its driver suffered a medical emergency.

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A school bus swerves off a road near Isle, Minn., on Wednesday after the driver suffered a medical emergency, in this image from a sheriff's deputy dashcam video posted to YouTube.
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A school bus carrying 11 children swerved along a central Minnesota highway and in and out of the ditch Wednesday while its driver suffered a medical emergency.

The bus, traveling northbound on Minnesota Highway 47 near Isle at 35-40 miles per hour, wove in and out of the right lane of the two-lane, undivided highway for more than 10 minutes at about 4 p.m. as an Aitkin County sheriff’s deputy followed, according to a news release from the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office. The students on the bus were from Isle school, and none were injured.

The deputy, who followed the bus for about 14 minutes, drove into the oncoming traffic lane a few times with her emergency lights on to warn approaching drivers, the release said. Dashcam video from the deputy’s car shows one motorist, who was driving toward the oncoming bus, throw the car into reverse and then back up into a driveway to avoid a collision. At one point, a student on the bus dialed 911 and said the driver, Scott Gilbertson, 68, of Isle, appeared to be having a medical emergency, the release said.

Students never took control of the bus, said Sheriff Scott Turner. At one point, the bus slowed down almost to a stop and its rear door opened, the release said, but then the bus drove on.

Another time, the bus careened across the southbound lane into a ditch on the left side of the road, pitched to the left at an alarming angle, and then swerved back onto the highway.

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A state trooper deployed a tire deflation device just south of the town of Glen to stop the bus, according to the release. The bus slowly drove into a shallow ditch and stopped.

None of the children on the bus were injured, and most continued on home on a substitute bus, said Isle School District Superintendent Dean Kapsner.

"The older kids comforted the younger kids and called for help," he said. "I’m very proud of our students. Everything came together in a positive way that day."

Kapsner said the driver was treated and released from the hospital. The school has not yet decided if he will return to driving buses.

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