Bus driver met tornado head-on

A bus driver for La Crosse MTU met Sunday’s tornado head-on.

Luke Mihalovic was heading west on Sims Place, behind Gundersen-Lutheran Hospital, when he noticed something wasn’t right.

“All of a sudden, I saw trees fly up and fly in front of me. I’m thinking to myself, it’s gotta be a tornado,” said Mihalovic, who has been driving a route in that neighborhood for more than a decade.

“Then the wind hits my bus and I thought I was going to tip over,” he added.

In just a matter of seconds, he watched helplessly as an ominous dark cloud engulfed his bus.


On the surveillance video, you can hear him tell a passenger a tornado is coming. Then, he sees a tree rip out of the ground and come flying at his bus.

“I felt helpless watching that,” said Mihalovic.

Seconds later, the bus is hit by an intense burst of wind. Mihalovic believes the tornado went right through his bus.

Both he and the one passenger on board were unharmed, but a tree did smash one of the windows on the bus.

“I always thought it’d be cool to see a tornado. But after that…no way, never again,” he said.

The National Weather Service says the area where Mihalovic’s bus was where the tornado was at its strongest. At that moment, it was packing winds estimated between 115 and 120 miles-per-hour.