Swim team's bus turns over near Connersville High School

A school bus from Dearborn County flipped onto its side near Connersville H.S. Tuesday afternoon. (Photo: Connersville News-Examiner)

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - Investigators are trying to determine why a school bus driver lost control of the vehicle just outside of Connersville High School on Tuesday afternoon.

The bus, carrying a swim team from Dearborn County, landed on its side.

There were 36 students on board. 16 of them went to a hospital to be checked for injury.

The bus was reportedly traveling downhill when it ran a stop sign, hit a utility pole and flipped onto its side.

Students were evacuating the bus using the emergency roof hatch exit as help arrived.

A witness said the school bus driver told her that "the brakes went out."

Andrew Jackson, superintendent at Sunman-Dearborn Community Schools, sent this message on Twitter:

"We heard the big thud. I mean it shook the whole house and we came outside and looked over and saw the bus was on its side," Donna Milligan said.

Milligan, who is recovering from hip surgery, raced into action.

"First I saw the bus driver and she was laying there and I pointed over and she said 'I'm OK, I'm OK' so I went running to the back and opened the back latch and helped the children get out of the back of the bus," she said. "They were all screaming. It was pretty scary."

Milligan said the bus driver was pinned behind the steering wheel. She helped support the driver as she reached for a switch to raise the wheel.

Charlie Cantrell, who lives next to the school, said he ran outside too.

"I just heard the crash and I was inside doing paperwork," said Cantrell. "The neighbor came flying down through there. We got in the back of the bus, pulled the door open and started helping the children out of the door and started getting all their backpacks and cell phones out of the bus and make sure everybody's OK. By then the police came and the fire department."

Cantrell said the children were scared and crying. He saw only one taken out on a stretcher.

Clifford Hatfield, another witness, helped at the scene. "It was chaotic. Some kids were screaming. We had to hug them and calm them down."

The man who lives in a house at the end of the sloping road where the bus lost control calls it a dangerous intersection. He said vehicles sometimes can't make the turn on time and leave the road. He said drivers have taken out his sign and hit a telephone pole, as he showed us scarring on the pole.

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