*This story has been updated to include additional details, including the identity of the SUV driver and information from the crash report.
COLUMBIA — The driver of an SUV was killed in a head-on collision with a school bus Thursday afternoon on North Route Z. The bus driver and four students had minor injuries.
Lawrence W. Ferguson, 67, of Auxvasse, was pronounced dead on the scene. He was driving northbound in a 2004 Ford Explorer, "crossed the center line and hit the school bus head-on," said Capt. Martina Pounds, public information officer of the Boone County Fire Protection District. "But why that happened we still don't know."
His next of kin has been notified, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol traffic crash report.
The school bus driver, Floyd Fares, 41, of Columbia, sustained minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to University Hospital.
“He was alert when he was transported,” Pounds said.
Both drivers were wearing seat belts, according to the report.
Three children who had minor injuries were transported to hospitals by ambulance, according to the crash report. Two girls, ages 7 and 8, were taken to Women’s and Children’s Hospital. A boy, 8, was taken to University Hospital.
The 19 remaining students were transferred to a different bus and taken back to the elementary school, less than a mile from the crash scene, Pounds said.
From there, "all 19 went to the hospital for precautionary measures and further evaluation," Pounds said.
At that point, a fourth child, an 8-year-old boy, was found to have minor injuries, the report said.
Pounds said she did not have an update on the status of the children.
The accident occurred in the 5400 block of North Route Z between Judy School Road and Mexico Gravel Road. The Ford Explorer was totaled, and the school bus had extensive damage, according to the report. Both vehicles were towed from the scene.
The road was damp, but Pounds said she did not know if rain played a part in the accident.
The bus had been transporting 22 kindergarten through fifth-grade students from Two Mile Prairie Elementary School's summer school program. After the crash, the students were evacuated out the front passenger-side door.
Animal Control removed two dogs from the SUV. Both were fine, Pounds said.
The accident was reported at 2:53 p.m., and the first response unit arrived on the scene at 3 p.m., Pounds said. She said there were several witnesses at the time of the collision. The Missouri State Highway Patrol will continue to investigate.
This is this the first June fatality in the Troop F district and the 25th for 2014, the report said. Troop F covers 13 counties in mid-Missouri.
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