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2 brothers among 4 school bus crash fatalities

Authorities on Wednesday identified two brothers among the four students killed in a southwestern Minnesota school bus crash.

A third student was the daughter of a teacher at Lakeview School, and a fourth was the son of a former teacher.

State Patrol troopers identified the victims of Tuesday's crash near Cottonwood as 13-year-old Jesse Javens, and 9-year-old Hunter Javens, both of Cottonwood; 12-year-old Reed Stevens, of Marshall; and 9-year-old Emilee Olson of Cottonwood.

The students were in a Lakeview School bus that was hit by a van on Minnesota Highway 23 north of Cottonwood, State Patrol Lt. Mark Peterson said. The bus then collided with a pickup and tipped on its side.

At least 14 other people were hurt, including the drivers of the van and the pickup the bus rolled onto.

A community grieves
The crash rocked Cottonwood, a small town of a little more than 1,000 people, and the surrounding area. About 40 people attended an evening press briefing at Swan Lake Lutheran Church.

When Fire Chief Dale Louwagie was asked what the community could do, he said simply, "Pray."

Classes were canceled Wednesday at Lakeview, a small school of about 585 students that serves Cottonwood and Wood Lake, and plans were made to have grief counselors and clergy available to students, Superintendent Sheldon Johnson said.

The bus was on its regular route, carrying children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Initial reports said the bus was carrying 40 people, but it actually carried 28 students and a driver, Minnesota Public Safety spokeswoman Christine Krueger said.

Rescue squads and ambulances from nearly every city in Lyon County, Wood Lake and Granite Falls in Yellow Medicine County and Redwood Falls were called to the crash site.