A nine-point buck caused a group of Jay first graders to be late for a field trip, when it jumped out and collided with their school bus on Friday, Dec. 16.
According to Marvin Stockton, Jay Public Schools transportation director and Upper Elementary principal, the students were part of a caravan of three buses traveling to the Grove Cinema 6 for an end-of-semester reward field trip.
The driver of the first bus, Robin Bearpaw, said he was traveling north on Highway 10/59, when shortly before 9 a.m., the deer jumped a fence and crossed the area of the roadway known locally as Johnny Reed Hill.
Bearpaw told Stockton that the car in front of the bus barely missed striking the deer.
"He told me he didn't slam on his breaks for fear of causing multiple car accidents," Stockton said. "He just hit the deer, and then slowed down and pulled over [near Whitewater Road]."
Two classes of first graders were on the bus when it struck the deer. Stockton said no students were injured in the incident. Some students were scared, he said, because they saw the deer after the bus hit it.
The bus sustained damage to the front of the vehicle and to the radiator. Stockton said school officials had to have it towed back to Jay because it would not hold water.
Stockton said he texted photos of the bus and deer to the school's insurance agent. As of Friday afternoon he was still waiting to hear back from the agent in order to determine the extent of the damage and its cost.
Teachers of the two classes on the bus involved in the incident contacted parents using the Remind 101 app, Stockton said, rather than issue a district-wide all-call, because every parent in those two classes use the app.
"We didn't want to [worry] anybody, other than those involved in the accident," Stockton said, adding teachers spoke with many of the parents, including two who came to the scene to provide assistance if needed.
The students on the two buses not involved in the accident went ahead to the movies in Grove. The 40-some students on the damaged bus were transferred to a fourth bus and taken to the movies once law enforcement officials released them from the scene.
Stockton said following protocol issued for commercial drivers by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and per Jay School District policy, Bearpaw would be taken for a drug test following the incident.
Stockton said he went looking for the deer once the wrecker had towed the bus away. He said it appears that someone may have picked it up from the roadway while school officials were dealing with students.