MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — A local tennis team on their way back from competition was nearly caught in the May 12 derecho in South Dakota, but quick thinking by the coach and bus driver got them to safety.
The Madison High School boys tennis team was on their way home from Watertown on the 12th.
Their coach as well as the bus driver thought they could make it back to Madison in time to beat the weather, but they were caught facing the storm about 7 miles north of Madison.
They decided to pull off Highway 81 and into a farm driveway. Matt Phelps let them in the house.
“The sky changed so fast. I think I saw that the storm was moving at 80 mph or something like that, so we went from thinking we’re going to make it pretty easy to we better get off the road right now within a mile or two,” Madison boys tennis coach Joe Bundy said.
“When I first seen the bus out there, I thought, ‘that’s a bad place for anybody to be and get caught in the storm,’ so I guess I couldn’t even see who it was when they were coming up the driveway, so I guess it didn’t matter. Just pointed them to get in the basement,” farmer Matt Phelps said.
“He was waving us in before we even parked the bus. We just all ran inside and he let us go to the basement,” Madison tennis player Mason Kennington said.
There were 19 players on the bus along with the coach as well as the bus driver. Another passerby also took shelter in the basement, too.
You can see this full story tonight on KELOLAND Weekend News at 10.