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Witness: 'Diesel fuel spraying everywhere and kids screaming' when semi hits school, injuring 4

A witness to a semi crashing into a school Tuesday morning described the scene as “diesel fuel spraying everywhere and kids screaming.”

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 9:10 AM
Updated: Feb 8, 2019 10:40 AM

LYLE, Minnesota – A witness to a semi crashing into a school Tuesday morning described the scene as “diesel fuel spraying everywhere and kids screaming.”
Mark Lonergan, who saw the crash transpire, described the scene that left four injured and the nose of the semi inside the school to KIMT Tuesday morning. The Minnesota State Patrol says two students and two people in a car that was rear-ended that triggered the accident were transported for minor injuries.
NAMES RELEASED OF THOSE INVOLVED IN SEMI-SCHOOL CRASH.
Lonegran described the scene as a semi and a car being involved in an accident before the semi darted toward the school.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the semi and the car were headed southbound on Highway 218 when the car tried to turn left. Authorities say the semi was unable to slow down and struck the rear end of the car before it went into the ditch and hit the school.
SEMI DRIVER HAS MORE THAN A DOZEN PREVIOUS TRAFFIC CITATIONS.
Authorities say the semi hit a load-bearing wall and the driver was uninjured. Highway 218 is about 100 yards from the school.
“Me and another semi driver ran into the school to see if we could help or at least get into the school to get the kids out,” Lonegran said. “Luckily, no kids got hurt very badly.”
The school is located just off Highway 218, a busy highway that runs from the Iowa border to Austin, Minnesota.
The school said on its website that classes Wednesday have been canceled. 
“My biggest fear was there were a bunch of kids in the classroom,” Lonegran said. “I knew there could be kids hurt or injured.”
Lonegran also said there needs to be more safety precautions put into place due to the location of the Highway in connection to the school.
Superintendent Bryan Boysen of Lyle Public Schools says once the semi hit the building the fire alaram went off, so they evacuated the school like there was a fire.  Boysen says if the semi would have hit the school any other way more could have been injured and possible fatalities.
He says social workers and counselors will be on staff once school is back in session, but for now the school is unsafe.
“It’s one of those things that probably shouldn’t have happened,” Lonegran said.
A student at the school described the crash as sounding “like a bomb went off.”
A parent said they were alerted of the situation via text message and said they were told to pick up their children at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.
Highway 218 was re-opened just before noon.
MNDOT says 2,900 vehicles travel on that highway every day.  They say the last crash they saw happen near the school was in 2014 with no injuries.  Those with MNDOT say the city has never reported concerns about the highway being so close to the school but after every accident they do re-evaluate situations to see if things get be fixed.

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