Update: Hudson school bus driver is in critical condition
Cheryl Moilanen is in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, according a woman who identified herself as a sister of the Hudson school bus driver in a phone call to the Moilanen residence Friday morning.
The 57-year-old Moilanen as struck by a vehicle driven by Ann Pierce, 44, of River Falls while returning to her bus after stopping at the MR Convenience gas station and store at about 7:45 a.m. Thursday. The business is located just north of I-94 at Exit 4 in the town of Hudson.
Moilanen is a driver for Safeway Bus Co., which provides bus service for students in the Hudson School District.
No students were in the bus at the time of the accident, according Patrol Captain Scott Knudson of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.
Moilanen's sister declined to give any more information about her condition.
Tom Stiles, who is co-owner of Safeway and runs its Hudson operation, said Moilanen is in her first year with the company.
"She's a very good driver," Stiles said. "The kids enjoy her. All the drivers really like her. She's a great gal and we're very sad about what's happened with her."
He said Moilanen had completed her middle school/high school route and had stopped at MR Convenience for a break before picking up students to deliver to Hudson Prairie Elementary and St. Patrick schools.
School bus drivers typically have a short break between their first and second routes, Stiles said.
"She's a nice gal," he said of Moilanen. "We hope that she is going to come back. We're looking forward to it."
According to Patrol Captain Knudson, Moilanen was returning to her bus parked on the east side of Ryan Drive when she was hit by Pierce's Honda CRV sport utility vehicle. Pierce was northbound on Ryan Drive and turning into an east entrance to the gas station and convenience store. Ryan Drive is on the east side of the business.
Knudson said it is believed that Pierce's vehicle was going about 15 or 20 mph when it hit Moilanen.
Moilanen's head struck the pavement when she was knocked down by the vehicle.
Knudson said Pierce wasn't cited for a traffic violation in connection with the accident.