County responds to ‘code red blanket’

On June 17, the Toole County 911 center received a call that a Harlem school bus transporting 38 students and two adults had rolled on U.S. Highway 2 near mile marker 296.

Approximately two miles west of Devon the bus negotiated a gradual left curve. As the bus was coming out of this curve, it went off the right (south) side of the highway. The driver, 39 year old Felicianao Hoguin of Harlem, steered the bus back onto the highway and the bus traveled into the oncoming traffic lane. Hoguin counter steered the bus back to the right, which caused the bus to go into a clockwise rotation. Once the bus was sideways on the highway, it tipped over onto the driver’s side and skidded on the highway until it came to rest, facing south and blocking both directions of travel. Hoguin stated that the bus was pushed by a gust of wind, which caused the bus to initially go off the south side of the highway.


A ‘code red blanket’ was declared, which notifies the responders that this is a potential mass casualty event.


Along with Montana Highway Patrol, emergency units from Toole, Pondera, Glacier and Liberty counties, U.S. Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, Toole County Health Department, Montana Department of Transportation and Motor Carrier Services responded to assist with the event.

Mercy Flight responded with a helicopter and a fixed wing. Injured parties were transported to Marias Medical Center, Pondera County Medical Center, Liberty County Medical Center, Northern Rockies Medical Center and one to Benefis Hospital in Great Falls.

The children were all from Blaine County and had been returning home from a church camp.