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9/4/2013 6:02:00 AM
Floods strand students, create unsafe conditions - and rain isn't done
Rainwater flows into the park/detention basin at Southern and Eastern avenues Sunday morning. Rain gauges have measured a lot of rain from recent storms, and it’s not over – forecasts say thunderstorms remain likely for the rest of the week. (Courtesy)
Rainwater flows into the park/detention basin at Southern and Eastern avenues Sunday morning. Rain gauges have measured a lot of rain from recent storms, and it’s not over – forecasts say thunderstorms remain likely for the rest of the week. (Courtesy)
Kim Steele
Miner Staff Reporter

GOLDEN VALLEY - Dave Payton wasn't worried when his great-grandchildren's school bus got stuck between two running washes for several hours Friday afternoon.

Payton got a cell phone call after school from his oldest great-granddaughter, Justine Lane, 14, to let him know the bus was sitting on Estrella Road between Abrigo and Diabase roads and wasn't going anywhere until help arrived. Payton's other three great-grandchildren - Serenity, 13; Brandon, 11; and Jessica, 8 - also were passengers on the marooned bus.

"The kids sounded like they were having fun on the bus when my great-granddaughter called me," said Payton. "You know how kids are. They can make anything into something fun. But I felt sorry for the bus driver because he was the one who was worried. It was a scary situation for him, but he handled it well."

A sudden rainstorm pelted Golden Valley on Friday, sending water rushing through both washes surrounding the bus and leaving a two-foot layer of impassable mud and rocks in one of them. A Mohave County Sheriff's Office officer monitored the stranded bus from the edge of one wash, and Mohave County Emergency Services quickly responded to the scene.

Mark Wolski, a Kingman Unified School District bus driver for about eight years, waited with his young charges as a Mohave County Public Works blade truck scraped the debris so Wolski could return the 29 kindergarten through eighth-grade students to Black Mountain School. Wolski is credited by KUSD officials and parents with using caution in what could have been a tragic situation.

Over the past 32 days, Kingman and Golden Valley have received a total of 108 inches of rainfall at its 32 sensor stations monitored by Mohave County Public Works. Totals range from a low of 1.65 inches at Mohave Wash and a high of 4.76 inches at Burn Spring in Kingman to a low of 1.61 inches at Cherum Peak and a high of 7.09 inches at Cave Spring in Golden Valley during that time.

Black Mountain Principal Becky Collins said the children on Wolski's bus came back to the school and waited there until parents could retrieve them. Collins said two more buses were unable to drop off children because of flooding and returned to Black Mountain, leaving almost 50 students there until about 8:30 p.m. Collins said pizza was brought in and students watched movies at the school during that time.

The school's buses only travel paved roads when it rains in Golden Valley, said Collins. She noted Estrella Road is paved, but because of recent downpours, it has buckled. Collins said she has not seen it rain as much or the washes fill like they did Friday, requiring students to return to the school, in her eight years as principal.

"The bus driver did the perfect thing," said Collins. "The two washes were running and he was stuck between them, so he waited until it was safe and returned to the school. Washes are a huge issue in Golden Valley, and none of our buses cross running washes. We pay a lot of attention to the rain here because the safety of our students comes first."

KUSD Superintendent Roger Jacks said that when flash flooding occurs, the situation can change rapidly. On Friday, district officials were watching the weather and decided to keep students from several schools off their buses because of anticipated storm cells. They included Kingman High School, Lee Williams High School, Cerbat Elementary School, Kingman Middle School and White Cliffs Middle School.

Those parents were notified of the situation by the district's call system, which can contact 10,000 parents by telephone in less than 20 minutes. Golden Valley students attending high school in Kingman were bused to Black Mountain Elementary to wait for their parents to pick them up, said Jacks. Three other buses returned to the school after leaving on their assigned routes, he added.

"In the one incident, we were very proud of the driver because he was so safety conscious," said Jacks. "Those washes flooded rapidly and the driver did the right thing by waiting. The district's goal is to keep the students at school in situations like this, but we also train our drivers to be safe if they get out in a bad situation. This driver thought about the children first and didn't cross the washes."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013
Article comment by: Storm Er

Too Hot

Why does my bigotry have to be aimed at the good people of Kingman ? Maybe I was just using the location as a reference point to base my bigotry. Maybe it doesn't bother me either way ?

Maybe facetious is a bit to complex a concept for many of the commenter's of this fine paper to grasp.

Maybe we are both just wasting time much like Mr. Internet and TV outage.

LoL


Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Article comment by: N A

I guess some one had nothing else to write about, nothing new here.

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Article comment by: Too Hot

Storm er

I believe Tired of It was being facetious. But thanks for the gratuitous bigotry against the people of Kingman. You certainly let your light shine.


Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Article comment by: Midwest Momm

Kudos to the bus driver! The kids are safe and home due to the driver's common sense.

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Article comment by: Just Sayin

@ Tired of it!

Wow, you need to change your outlook on life. If all you have to worry about is losing TV and Internet when it rains, there are problems. Think about a job or a hobby? Volunteer time at local organizations? Be thankful you are afforded the luxuries of TV and internet. Many go to bed without meals on a daily basis wondering when or where their next meal is going to come from.

KUDOS to that bus driver for keeping a clear head and delivering our future back safely. Also KUDOS to the school for making the kids feel safe and feeding them while they waited!


Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013
Article comment by: Storm Er

"Seems like each time the storms roll through here i lose my TV and internet."

LoL. Oh man. Bet you had to open up a book or something. Bet you have some deep insights on politics too. Thank You Kingman's Finest.


Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: J C

Lets not argue about how much rain and where the picture was taken the important thing was the bus driver made sure the children were safe.Instead of arguing over this we can thank the office staff at Black Mountain and the bus driver. The ladies in the office staff stayed until 9pm that night and had to pay for daycare until they were able to make it home. We shouldnt be arguing over the little stuff who cares how much rain and where the picture was taken.

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: Tired of it!

Im about sick of all the rain and crap now. Actually i was sick of it before it started.

Seems like each time the storms roll through here i lose my TV and internet. Gets really aggravating! And the humidity, oh yes, blame that on all the rain also since it takes moisture to create humidity!


Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: Dennis Jones

108 INCHES? THAT IS 9 FT. SOMEONE BUILD A ARK. GOOD THING MY HOUSE IS ON JACK STANDS LOL

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: Former Bus Driver

I know Mark, he is a good driver and a good person. The kids on that bus were lucky to have him

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: Jack a Lope

Kim, no we did not recieve 108 inches. the reading at each rainstation is the total for that one area. you do not add them all together. .... that would be misleading.

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Article comment by: Tell Me

Why would you guys put a picture of a drainage retention pond with a story about students being stranded between 2 running washes out in Golden Valley?

Would you put a picture of a Pizza if you were writing an article about Italian cars?




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