Baker FFA students recovering after bus hit by suspected DUII driver in Redmond

BAKER CITY – Four students from the Baker Future Farmers of America (FFA) program are recovering after they were injured after their bus was hit by a suspected drunk driver in Redmond.

The Baker FFA program was heading back from a competition on Friday, March 22 in Deschutes County when a woman ran a stop sign and her SUV hit the side of a bus carrying 14 FFA students. Four were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. 

Oregon State Troopers and other first responders were dispatched around 9:25 p.m. to the reported two-vehicle crash on Highway 126 (Highland Avenue) near the intersection SW with Helmholtz Way involving a 2019 Subaru Ascent and a westbound school bus that was sent crashing off the eastbound shoulder of the highway, down into a ditch.

A Culver woman, identified as 34-year-old Katrina Dacus, was arrested on charges of DUII, reckless driving, 15 counts of reckless endangering and three counts of fourth-degree assault, OSP said.

The students were competing in the Oregon FFA’s annual convention at the Deschutes Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Baker School District 5J Public Information and Communications Coordinator Lindsey Bennington McDowell said.

The Baker students had been recognized with a “Superior Chapter” award earlier Friday, before the crash, she noted.

Baker School Superintendent Erin Lair said: “We are so very grateful for fantastic first responders, caring and skilled staff, and parents helping our kids. Buses really do a spectacular job keeping students safe when collisions happen. We will get our students home and celebrate their incredible showing in the competition.

“There’s just absolutely no excuse for driving drunk,” Lair added.

“We have some amazing staff and parents helping impacted students,” McDowell said.  “I’m told we’re very fortunate there were no fatalities.