Last deed heroic: 1985
BENTZINGER, BUMGARDNER, WARNER
Posted By: Volunteer: Sherri
Date: 3/24/2022 at 18:11:51
**Handwritten: Hawk Eye 22 Mar 1985
Last deed heroic
By Mary Ovrom
KEOSAUQUA - Fifty Van Buren elementary School students escaped injury Thursday afternoon when their fatally stricken bus driver managed to steer the buss gently into a ditch before he died. (Obituary on page 8.)
Walter R. Bentzinger, 52, Keosauqua, was driving the southbound but on Highway 1 four miles north of Keosauqua at 3:40 p.m. when he sufffered(err) an apparent heart attack.
The bus crossed the highway, traveled 100 feet through a ditch and came to rest against a fence on the Dean Beresford farm.
The children, many crying and emotionally upset, left the bus and stood along the highway. All were from the Stockport attendance center. Another Van Buren school bus driven by Doren Bumgardner, Keosauqua, came by moments after the accident. Although his bus was already loaded, Bumgardner picked up the stranded students to get them away from the scene.
Van Buren County deputy Junior Warner said it appeared that Bentzinger was thinking of the students' safety because he steered the bus toward the more gently sloping ditch on the left side of the highway and slowed down as the vehicle ran into the fence.
Bentzinger was taken to Van Buren County Memorial Hospital but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. He had been a bus driver since 1981.
The bus sustained no apparent damage.
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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