Girls injured in fatal I-44 school bus crash reflect on accident, recovery

9:00 AM, Aug 18, 2010   |    comments
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Video: Bus crash victim Dani Klein speaks

Video: School bus crash victim Emily Perona speaks

  • Dani Klein pushes classmate Emily Perona down the hall in a wheelchair.
  • Dani Klein.
  • Emily Perona.

Rolla, MO (KSDK) -- Two of the more seriously injured survivors of the fatal I-44 school bus crash thanked those who came to their rescue and recounted what they remember about that day.

It happened as two busses carrying band students crashed on their way to Six Flags from St. James, Missouri.

Both girls were in the back of the first bus, where it was hit by the second bus, and where a 15-year-old was killed. Doctors have said one of the girls, Emily Perona, will likely be in the hospital for another month or maybe more. But they were impressed with her recovery so far. When the second bus hit her school bus, she was pinned between seats and her pelvis was crushed.

Dani Klein suffered broken vertebrae and a fractured skull in the accident. She was sharing a seat with Jessica Brinker, the young girl who died in the accident.

The girls' bus first hit a pickup truck and then a semi. During that impact, Klein said she and Brinker were tossed around. And before the second bus hit them, she said Brinker shoved her out of the seat, keeping her from suffering more serious injuries.

"I just learned that somebody can be there one day and the next they're gone," Klein said. "It's just really hard."

Perona said one of their rescuers, a man named "Ty," was a stranger who also happened to be headed to Six Flags that day when he saw the crash and stopped to help.

"I guess it's such shock that I can't remember everything. But I do remember the guy Ty jumping onto the bus and staying with me. Talking me through it. Telling me I was going to be okay," Perona said. "And I remember praying. And also I told my sister, 'go get safe,' because she wanted to know if I wanted her to stay with me."

Perona also said that despite the Missouri State Highway Patrol laying some of the blame on the bus drivers, she is not angry with them.


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