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Fatal Heart Attack, Children Escape Injury: 1985


Posted By: Volunteer: Sherri
Date: 3/24/2022 at 18:03:29

**VB Reg 28 Mar 1985

Fatal Heart Attack, Children Escape Injury

Fifty Van Buren Community School elementary students escaped injury last Thursday afternoon, March 21, when the bus they were in went off highway 1, after the driver suffered a fatal heart attack.

Walter Bentzinger, 52, of Keosauqua was driving the southbound bus approximately two miles north of Keosauqua, when he suffered the heart attack at about 3:40 p.m.

The bus crossed the center line and the opposite lane, went about 100 feet through a ditch, and into a fence on the Dean Beresford farm.

Van Buren County Sheriff's Department deputies Junior Warner and Mark Sedlacek happened to be one of the next cars coming down the road, and assisted.

Children reported that it was student Johanna K. Parsons, 11, daughter of Fred and Sheila Parsons of Keosauqua, who opened the emergency exit door at the rear of the bus, to let all the students out. (Parsons is the same girl who received the Red Cross life-saving award last summer for her quick actions to save a woman who had fallen into the Des Moines River.)

Another Van Buren bus, driven by Doren Bumgardner of Keosauqua, came by shortly after the accident and picked up the students, many of whom were crying and emotionally upset. All are students who attend the Stockport elementary center and were on a shuttle which runs between Mt. Zion and Keosauqua.

Cardio pulmonary resuscitation efforts at the scene and at the Van Buren County memorial Hospital were not successful.

Bentzinger had passed physical examinations as required for all bus drivers certifying him as a qualified bus driver for the 1984-85 school year.

the school is currently using substitute drivers to run the route he drove.

Bentzinger was a bus driver for the Van Buren Community School District for many years in the 60's and 70's and most recently since October, 1981.

Source: "Scrapbook 1981 - 1985", Pg. 229,
Keosauqua Public Library, Keosauqua, Van Buren Co., IA


Van Buren Documents maintained by Rich Lowe.
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