WARSAW, Ind. — A truck driver, facing more than two dozen charges for ramming his semi into a school bus in northern Indiana, appeared in court Monday and requested a reduced bond.
Victor Santos of Brooklyn, New York, made his first court appearance on Monday for the 26 charges — including operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury and criminal recklessness — that he faces for the Nov. 12 crash.
During his appearance, a motion was filed to reduce his bond. Jail records show his bail is set at $77,500. His lawyer also requested a Spanish-interpreted hearing.
Santos is accused of driving drunk and crashing into a school bus in Warsaw, injuring 13 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17. Three of those teenagers were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Dispatchers were notified just after 8 p.m. of a semi-truck swerving into other lanes and driving at excessive speeds. The truck was also reportedly driving off the road as it entered Warsaw on U.S. 30.
Police said two minutes later, as officers were on their way to stop the truck, they were told the semi had hit a school bus at U.S. 30 and Center Street and the bus was flipped on its side. The semi driver continued west and stopped off the road and into a ditch about an eighth of a mile from the intersection.
Investigators believe at least one student was ejected from the bus when the semi-truck hit it from behind.
First responders rushed to the area and began attending to multiple injuries ranging from critical to minor.
The school bus was carrying members of Chicago's Saint Ignatius College Prep's hockey team when it crashed. The team was returning to their hotel after a game against Culver Academies.
There were 23 players between the ages of 14 and 17 on the bus, with the majority of those players being 15 years old. There were also two adult coaches and the bus driver on the bus.
When police first talked to Santos after the crash, he said the school bus had pulled out in front of him. When he was asked to step out of the truck, police said Santos stumbled and they smelled alcohol on his breath. Police claim Santos failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a chemical test at the scene.
During his booking, court documents claim Santos took a breathalyzer test and it came back at .13% when the legal limit is .08%.
Witnesses told police that Santos' truck nearly ran them off the road at one point and that, as they followed, it hit speeds of 80 to 85 mph on U.S. 30. They said they saw it run a red light and hit the school bus without slowing down or trying to swerve.
Police were able to determine the school bus had a green arrow and the semi had a red light.