Police search for truck involved in Lafayette bus crash

Published: .
Updated: .

The search is on for the white truck witnesses say crossed over into the lane of a school bus on Interstate 65, moments before it rolled over in the median.

With so many white trucks on the interstates, though, investigators don't know if they'll be able to find the driver.

"We have very little to go on," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers. "Unless somebody from the public comes forward and says something that they saw, or we get a plate number, we're kinda dry."

According to investigators, the semi and school bus never made contact.

"The trailer just, or the truck, either one, just started to come over," said Myers. "The bus driver made an evasive action and unfortunately, lost control and went off the median."

Witnesses said the semi driver didn't stop, but investigators said that could be because the driver didn't even realize a crash had occurred after the semi changed lanes.

"If there was no actual contact and he started to come over and the bus driver made the evasive action to miss it, could have never even seen what happened," explained Myers.

An investigation of the bus's records showed it had passed all its inspections.

"There was nothing mechanically wrong with it before the crash that would have been a contributing factor to the crash," said Myers.

Indiana State Police said safety belts worn by the five students on board were probably the reason the injuries in the crash wasn't worse.

"Considering what we saw from that bus and the damage that was to it, everybody came out in great shape," said Myers.

That wasn't immediately apparent, though, when emergency crews got on scene to find the bus, carrying five children and seven adults, a twisted mess of crushed metal and broken windows.

Seven hours after the crash, one of the students got to go home from IU Health Methodist Hospital.

"Yeah that was scary," said nine-year-old Connor Goodman. "I just held on tight."

Connor was one of 12 students and adults injured in the rollover wreck when their bus tried to avoid a truck.

"Got a lot of cuts in his head, yeah you did, from glass," said his dad, Tracy.

Connor had cuts to his face and two broken bones in his arm.

But like the other passengers, the students, their parents and staff, he was belted in.

His father Tracy Goodman says initially, "All (Connor) could say, because he is autistic, was daddy, we had a bad crash."

Connor's injuries were among the worst. None were life-threatening. Seven patients went to St. Vincent and five to IU Health Methodist Hospital. The students at Methodist "were all kind of wild-eyed, looking around. A new experience for them. None seem to be seriously crying," said emergency room Dr. Larry Reed.

To the unknown driver who allegedly caused the crash, Connor's dad says "I would like the person to come forward and just say what really was going through their mind why they didn't stop. If we don't have our kids' safety, what do we have?"

Ten of the victim's of Thursday's crash have been released from the hospital. Two others, a student and an adult, were admitted overnight. They are both listed in good condition.