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School bus crashes into parked cars in Duluth

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An elementary school bus filled with children crashed into two parked cars in Duluth early Monday morning.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that children on the bus were shaken, but uninjured, in the incident that happened on the 3800 block of Grand Avenue, West Duluth. The driver told police that he had to swerve to avoid a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.

Witness Rick Darby, who called 911 when his mother and daughter's cars were hit by the bus, told the News Tribune it was a "very violent crash," with a wrought iron fence and street sign also said to have been hit by the bus.

The bus, which was heading towards the North Star Academy, sustained extensive damage to the right side of its front fender and the hood, the newspaper reports.

Jim Hansen, police spokesman, told the News Tribune that the 55-year-old driver was not cited in the incident, and that officers were investigating the crash.

The children were picked up by a replacement bus and taken on to school, the newspaper added.

School bus crashes rose last year

The most recent figures from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's crash facts show that there were 732 crashes involving school buses in 2013, a rise of 32 percent from the year before.

It is those hit by the buses, rather than those riding in them, who tend to come off the worst, with the department saying there had been no deaths among school bus passengers in the last five years.

But this period of relative safety on school buses came after a crash in 2008 in which four students aged between 9 and 13 were killed when a van hit their school bus in Cottonwood, located in southwest Minnesota, as reported by FOX 9.

More recently, two people suffered non life-threatening injuries after their car was hit by a school bus in Anoka County just over two weeks ago, WCCO reports.

In May of this year, seven students from Wayzata High School were injured after a pick-up truck carrying a trailer crashed into a school bus as it crossed County Road 101 in Plymouth.

And in November last year, a school bus crashed into a house in North Minneapolis after it was hit by an SUV that ran a red light. Fortunately the two people on board were uninjured.

A year earlier, a grandmother and her two grandchildren, ages 4 and 11, were killed after colliding with a school bus in Inver Grove Heights.

Concern over drivers failing to follow the law around school buses prompted the Minnesota DPS to release a video Monday of a reckless driver in St Louis County from earlier this year, MPR reports.

The YouTube clip shows a school bus stopping for a child on the other side of the road, before a large truck speeds past in the opposite direction in the breakdown lane, inches away from the child.

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