State Patrol says driver of box truck fell asleep: 1 dead, 9 injured, dozens of students sent to hospital

ORONDO, Wash.  — The driver of a box truck fell asleep and crossed the center line on State Route 97, resulting in a three-vehicle crash Thursday that killed one person, injured 9 and sent dozens of students on a school bus to the hospital, the State Patrol said.

Washington State Patrol trooper Darren Wright told Wenatchee radio station KPQ there were multiple injuries in the Thursday crash involving a box truck, passenger car and school bus for the Orondo School District.

Four people in the box truck and a Pontiac GrandAm, and five of the 43 students on the bus, were treated for injuries at the hospital; the other students were just examined as a precaution.

The crash took place about 8:30 a.m. on Highway 97 about five miles north of Orondo and about 20 miles north of East Wenatchee.

The State Patrol said the driver of a white box truck fell asleep as he was traveling northbound on State Route 97 and crossed the center line. He crashed into the Pontiac traveling southbound, resulting in that driver's death, and then struck the Orondo School District school bus.

Killed in the car was Carmela Cuellar Morales, 22, of Orondo.

Injured were school bus driver, Pamela K. Robertson, 53, of Orondo; Kenneth A. Hahn, 54, of Yakima, driver of the box truck; Michael R. Driver, 36, of Yakima, a passenger in the box truck; and Aurora Cuellar Morales, 12, a passenger in the Pontiac.

The 43 students on the bus were taken to Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee. There is one school in the town, a combination elementary-middle school with about 160 students.

Classes were still in session Thursday, school district officials said. School counselors were available, officials said, but that the vast majority of younger kids didn't understand the accident.