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Semi hits Lyle Public school; injuries reported

By Mike Stoll, Austin Daily Herald

LYLE — A crash between a semi and another vehicle Tuesday morning caused the semi to lose control and crash into the Lyle Public School Tuesday morning, sending two students to the hospital and injuring two others outside the school.

According to Superintendent of Schools Bryan Boysen, a car and the semi, both traveling southbound, collided at the intersection of Highway 218 and Pershing Avenue.

According to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Troy Christianson, the accident happened about 8:20 a.m. The semi collided with the right rear of the car that was attempting to make a left-hand turn.

The semi then careened off Highway 218, crashing into the west wall of the high school art room. The entire cab entered the room where there were 12 students in class during the first period of the school day.

Boysen said he could confirm that two students, neither of whom he identified, were taken by ambulance to Austin, and described their injuries as head injuries, but did not believe the injuries were serious.

A parent and a student, riding in the car struck by the semi, were also injured bringing the total to four.

Boysen said that he was alerted to incident when the school’s fire alarm went off. He entered the hallway leading to the classroom where he saw smoke. Employees directed him to the classroom where the semi was completely embedded.

“I entered the art classroom, walked in and saw a semi staring at me,” Boysen said.

School staff used their fire evacuation plan and all students were evacuated and sent to Our Saviors Lutheran Church to be picked up by their parents. While at the church, students were checked out by a first responder as a precaution.

Even with the two students injured inside the building, both Boysen and Christianson said the accident could have been a lot worse.

“The staff did a great job and … it makes you realize we’re family,” Boysen said.

“The good lord was watching over us,” Boysen went on to say. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Christianson said a reason it wasn’t any worse was that the semi struck a load-bearing wall, preventing the semi from going further into the building.

School was canceled for the remainder of the day and Boysen announced in an email to parents that it would be canceled Wednesday as well as the school assesses damage.

“We are already in the process of concealing and repairing it,” Boysen said, adding that a contractor from Austin would be going over the damage Tuesday. Part of the concern, Boysen said, is the possibility of roof collapse due to the damage.

Gold Cross Ambulance, the Mower County Sheriff’s Department and the Minnesota State Patrol were all on the scene, as well as counselors that were made available for students and staff if they needed to talk.

The semi driver was not identified.

— Eric Johnson and Deb Nicklay contributed to this report.