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Update: Bus driver has surgery after accident

A Hudson school bus driver remains in the intensive care unit at Regions Hospital in St. Paul following an accident Thursday morning, Feb. 5, at the MR Convenience station store in the town of Hudson.

Cheryl Moilanen, 57, was returning to her bus after visiting the convenience store when she was struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by Ann Pierce, 44, of River Falls.

The collision knocked Moilanen to the pavement and she struck her head on it, according to Patrol Captain Scott Knudson of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department.

The accident happened at about 7:45 a.m.

St. Croix Emergency Medical Services was called to the scene and took Moilanen by ambulance to Hudson Hospital. A medical helicopter met her there and flew her to Regions.

According to a site established to keep loved ones and friends informed about her condition, Moilanen has undergone surgery to lessen pressure from the swelling of her brain.

She suffered damage to her left ear drum and a fractured left ankle in addition to bruising on the brain, the site reports.

"At this time, her vitals are stable and are being monitored. The family appreciates all your prayers and support, and we will keep you updated," a family member reported Friday morning.

"The doctors wanted to stress that it will most likely be a long recovery of weeks and months," said another journal entry.

The Web site had recorded 2,275 visits from family members and friends as of Tuesday afternoon.

Moilanen's husband, John, declined to comment on her condition. "It's way too early for that," he said in a phone call.

Moilanen is in her first year of driving for Safeway Bus Co., which provides bus service for students in the Hudson School District.

"She's a very good driver," said Tom Stiles, the Safeway co-owner in charge of the company's Hudson operation. "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."

Stiles added: "We hope that she is going to come back. We're looking forward to it."

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. No students were on the bus.

School bus drivers typically have a short break between their first and second routes, Stiles said.

Patrol Captain Knudson said Moilanen had parked her bus on the east side of Ryan Drive, the north-south road on the east side of MR Convenience. The business is located north of Interstate 94 at Exit 4.

Pierce was northbound on Ryan Drive and turning into an east entrance to the gas station/convenience store when the accident happened, Knudson said.

He said Pierce's Honda CRV was going about 15 or 20 mph when it hit Moilanen.

No traffic citations have been issued in connection with the accident.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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