by Jim Boyle
A charter bus bringing an Illinois women’s basketball team home from a playoff loss in North Dakota on March 10 crashed on Interstate 94 in between the exits for Highway 101 in Rogers and Minnesota 241 in St Michael.
Most of the 17 people on the Cheeseman Coach Bus, including the driver and owner Paul William Cheeseman, 64, were sent to area hospitals. None of the patients, however, suffered life threatening injuries, according to a spokesperson for the Minnesota State Patrol.
The bus was an eastbound lane of the interstate near the Minnesota Highway 241 exit about 6:45 p.m. on Saturday when Cheeseman had an “unknown medical episode,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielson.
The bus reportedly entered the median and traveled for about a quarter-mile, striking trees and a freeway sign before re-entering the traffic lanes and finally heading into the ditch where it came to rest, Nielson stated.
Cheeseman was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and most of passengers on the bus were taken to the CentraCare hospital in Monticello. All of the patients in Monticello were in listed in good condition and were expected to be discharged that night, a hospital spokesperson said.
Four of the 17 people on the bus were hurt but were not transported to hospitals, Nielson said.
The bus had picked up the players at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton and was headed back to Highland Community College in Freeport, Ill.
Traffic in both directions was disrupted for two hours.
Along with the State Patrol, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, St. Michael Fire Department and Monticello Fire Department responded to the scene. An Elk River Ambulance was called but later called off when it was determined enough rigs had been summoned.