7-year-old’s death prompts safety for students

Published 10:57 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

NORTHWOOD, Iowa — About three months after 7-year-old Kadyn Halverson was struck and killed crossing the street to board a Northwood-Kensett school bus, the Worth County Development Authority is promoting greater safety for students.

During a presentation Monday at the Northwood-Kensett bus barn, WCDA officials donated $150,000 to split among five northern Iowa school districts for cameras on buses.

Kim Koenings, executive director for the WCDA, said cameras will be installed on about 10 buses for the Northwood-Kensett, Lake Mills, St. Ansgar, Central Springs and Forest City school districts.

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Each bus will be outfitted with two cameras inside and one outside.

“It’s extremely important to do what we can to keep kids safe,” Koenings said. “And the cameras are a part of that.”

The donation was in addition to the usual education grants given out by the WCDA — the nonprofit co-licensee of Diamond Jo Casino.

Koenings said Northwood-Kensett Superintendent Tom Nugent approached the WCDA board with the idea to be implemented this fall, and the board members agreed and decided to expand it.

She noted it is the hope of the WCDA board and Halverson’s family that the cameras will make a difference. Video footage can help in bus-related incidents, such as getting license plate numbers of stop-arm violators.

At the time of Halverson’s collision, her school bus was stopped with its lights flashing and stop sign out.

The driver of a pickup, Aaron Dwayne Gunderson, 31, of Northwood, Iowa, reportedly failed to stop, hit Halverson and fled. He was caught by Worth County Sheriff’s Office deputies shortly after.

Authorities are still investigating the incident and charges are pending.