Smithton man dies after heart attack, bus crash

May 1, 2007

A Smithton man crashed a school bus as he suffered a fatal heart attack Tuesday.

Ralph “Dale” Montgomery, 64, died 2:37 p.m. at Bothwell Regional Health Center, said Pettis County Coroner Robert “Skip” Smith.

The Pettis County Sheriff’s Department received a call at 1:49 p.m. that a school bus crashed behind the Smithton school.

Superintendent Bill Hadlow said Montgomery was on his way to fuel up before beginning his afternoon route. No one else was on the bus.

Hadlow was in the elementary school principal’s office when he saw the bus drive across a yard and into a fence and utility pole behind the building. He ran to the bus.

“He was slumped over the steering wheel, and he was blue,” Hadlow said. The superintendent performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Montgomery was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Smith said Montgomery had no “significant history” of heart problems.