No serious injuries in Camp Kee Tov bus mishap

A collision involving a yellow school bus full of campers from a Berkeley Jewish day camp resulted in only minor injuries for the passengers, who were on their way to a camp activity in an East Bay park.

The accident occurred around 10 a.m. Aug. 10 when the bus ran into the rear end of a van on westbound Interstate 80 near Ashby Avenue, which caused a chain reaction of small collisions and several minor injuries.

There were no serious injuries among the approximately 50 bus passengers, according to officials at Camp Kee Tov, a summer day camp based at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley. The bus was filled with 8- and 9-year-olds and 10 camp counselors; at least 12 children were treated for minor injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Despite news reports to the contrary, no campers or staff were taken to the hospital, said Zach Landres-Schnur, Camp Kee Tov director.

“Everyone is totally fine,” he said a day after the accident, which forced one lane to be closed for an hour, severely tying up traffic. “There were only minor injuries.” Bumped knees and some bruises were among the worst injuries, he said.

 “Our staff handled it beautifully,” he added, “rose to the occasion and provided expert childcare to our campers.” Kept abreast of the situation, parents posted comments on Facebook such as “Thank you Camp Kee Tov for handling a stressful situation so well” and “Thank you for handling the situation today with so much care and communication. We are grateful!”

The accident occurred as the campers were on their way to a public park for Messy Day — “an age-old Camp Kee Tov tradition where the kids do a series of activities designed to get them as messy as possible,” Landres-Schnur said. “Typical supplies involved include shaving cream, Hershey’s syrup, that kind of thing.”

Landres-Schnur reported business as usual the day after the accident. “Everyone is back at camp today and excited for a more regular day,” he said.

Yeah, but what about Messy Day? “We’re happy to say it has already been rescheduled for next week,” it said on Camp Kee Tov’s Facebook page.

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is interim associate editor of J. He previously served as assistant editor and digital editor, and is a member of the board of the American Jewish Press Association. He can be reached at [email protected].