Several injured in school bus rollover crash on I-65 in Boone County
Twelve people, including five children, were injured in a school bus crash in Boone County on I-65 northbound Thursday afternoon. The bus was headed to Lafayette after a field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo.
Indiana State Police say a white box trailer or semi cut off the bus, forcing it into the median and causing it to roll over. The semi driver did not stop and police are still searching for that driver.
Five children from Lafayette and Tippecanoe Schools and seven adults were transported to Indianapolis-area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. The children were in grades kindergarten through fourth grade.
The students were wearing seat belts or harnesses at the time of the crash, and police tell Eyewitness News that was likely a factor in preventing more serious injuries.
IU Health Methodist Hospital patients
IU Health Methodist Hospital treated three students and two adults from the crash, whose conditions range from serious to stable. Injuries include a possible broken arm along with cuts and bruises, according to trauma surgeon Dr. Larry Reed.
The IU Health Methodist emergency room was already busy but well-staffed when the ambulances brought in the crash victims.
"One looks like it might be a fracture. Maybe some sprains, dislocations, some lacerations and superficial bruises," said Dr. Reed.
Doctors were still waiting to see all the patients' X-rays and to determine whether anyone needs to be admitted. But Dr. Reed saw no apparent life-threatening injuries.
The doctor said the children appeared to be in the age range of six to eight years old.
"They're kind of wide-eyed," says Dr. Reed of the children. "Looking around I think this is a new experience for them. None of them seem to be seriously crying or carrying on."
An Indiana State Police trooper who saw three of the children says they were in good spirits and giving each other high-fives.
At least one of the adults brought to Methodist seems to work for the school.
"I think they were staff, "says Dr. Reed. "One teacher indicated she would be best to help the children communicate with us."
One of the adults at Methodist had a broken wrist, and one of the children had a broken arm.
The father of one of the students spoke to Eyewitness News after seeing his child in the hospital.
"Anytime you have a bunch of autistic children on a school bus, a short little bus, I would think that everybody would know the short little bus would mean there's a lot of autistic children on there and to be more aware and more wary of school buses for the public safety and everybody's safety," he said.
As for the seat belt issue, he added, "I did ask about that inside the hospital and they said every child was in their seat belt and they still got injuries."
St. Vincent Hospital treated and released six patients. Two of them were students ages eight and ten years old.
Lafayette School Corporation President Les Huddle says the five special needs students were from the Lafayette School Corporation and Tippecanoe School Corporation.
The adults include the bus driver, instructors and parent chaperones.
The crash occurred at the 128 mile marker between Zionsville and Lebanon in Boone County. The bus was returning from a field trip in Indianapolis.
A white box trailer or truck changing lanes struck the bus, causing it to go into the median and roll once. (Note: Police have not been able to offer a clearer description of the vehicle.)
Sgt. Rich Myers says the bus driver took evasive action but wound up in the median, which was slick and rain-soaked.
Sgt. Myers says the vehicle that struck the bus kept going. Police are searching for that driver. He also said it was very fortunate that there weren't any fatalities or more serious injuries.
The bus has a perfect safety record. Indiana State Police tell us no mechanical issues were involved in the crash.
Lebanon Schools is telling parents that several of its buses will be late coming home from a field trip in Indianapolis.