School bus driver dies in crash in Perry County, MO

James Kennedy (Source: Perry County School District 32)
James Kennedy (Source: Perry County School District 32)

PERRY COUNTY, Mo. (KBSI) – A Perry County bus driver died while driving his morning route Tuesday for Perry County School District 32.

James Kennedy, 72, had been a school bus driver at District 32 since October 2021. He previously drove buses for the Sikeston school district, and was also a truck driver for 40 years, according to Perry County School District 32.

Kennedy was driving his morning route on Hwy. K just north of Bluebird Lane on Sept. 6 when he crashed. Perry County Gary Schaaf says there were no children on the bus when the crash happened. It happened around 6 a.m.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that the 2023 Freightliner bus driven by Kennedy was southbound on Hwy K at 6:02 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6 when the Freightliner failed to negotiate a curve in the road, overcorrected, and struck the front of a 2006 Sterling box truck that was northbound on Hwy K.

The Freightliner traveled off the left side of the road and struck a culvert.

MSHP reports that Kennedy was not wearing a safety harness. The driver of the box truck was not injured.

Highway K between County Road 600 and County Road 604 was shut down while emergency crews responded.

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