School bus hits Explorer, causing four-car pile upon Highway 43 near Laton

A school bus carrying 28 students from Laton Unified School District was part of a four-vehicle pile-up on Highway 43 near Laton Wednesday that authorities said resulted when dust from a neighboring walnut field obscured the roadway.

One child suffered a split-lip, but no other children on the bus were hurt in the collision when the leading vehicle, a Ford Explorer, stopped due to poor visibility in the roadway around 3:45 p.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Ronald DeChamplain said.

The school bus, out of the Southwest Transportation Agency for Laton Unified School District, rear-ended the Explorer, starting a chain reaction with two other vehicles behind it.

A Chevrolet Tahoe was then sandwiched between the bus and a three-axle trailer truck. The driver of the lead vehicle suffered minor injuries, but the brunt of the damage, DeChamplain said, was suffered by the Tahoe. The driver had two broken legs and was rushed to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

Megan Ginise: 559-441-6614