An Indiana school bus transporting basketball players to a game was sideswiped by a local driver and overturned on the side of an expressway in yet another case of distracted driving gone wrong. Officials say that the accident was caused when the driver of an automobile spilled a drink on herself and swerved into the side of the bus. The crash occurred near De Motte on Interstate-65. Currently, 27 members of the Panthers, a Griffith High School basketball team, are reported to be injured. One coach had to be airlifted to the hospital. Passengers on the bus included 21 students and six adults.
According to Yahoo News, a good Samaritan in the form of a surgeon stopped on the expressway and assisted in tending to the wounds of those who had been injured in the school bus crash.
In addition to the surgeon, local residents of the area immediately went to the scene of the accident to assist in whatever way that they could when they heard the crash.
Indiana State Police say that the 23-year-old female driver, Dominique T. Small of Terre Haute, was also injured in the crash along with her passenger. Both the driver and her passenger were transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Small was driving a 2001 Kia.
ABC 7 Eyewitness News reports that the crash occurred at approximately noon on Saturday. The Griffith High School boys basketball team along with coaches, managers, and a trainer were being transported on the school bus to Lafayette to play in a 3 p.m. game against Marian High School. The game was a part of the Indiana state AAA semifinals.
One student, player Marcus Marsenic, described his reaction as the school bus began to overturn and do a rollover.
“I saw it all happening and I just yelled out ‘brace yourselves’ to the whole team. I looked at us swerving. Once we started going over, I just closed my eyes. A couple seconds later we were in the ditch.”
Victims of the crash were routed to multiple area hospitals for treatment and were transported by both another school bus from Kankakee Valley School Corporation and numerous ambulances. The coach, who had to be airlifted, was taken to University of Chicago in Illinois. All are in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
Fox News gives a more in-depth description of the events that led up to the accident. Dominique Small was traveling southbound in the left lane when the lid of her drink came off and spilled on her. She tried to grab the drink but in doing so lost control of her vehicle and sideswiped the bus, which was in the right lane.
Witnesses describe the bus as being “upside down” with part of its roof crushed in after the accident. Most of the victims were able to exit the bus either under their own power or with help, but one gentleman had to be extracted by the emergency crew on the scene.
Griffith High School Assistant Principal Dustin Nelson commented on the accident and the injuries sustained.
“It could have been a lot worse.”
School Superintendent Peter Morikis also expressed his thoughts.
“Our hearts are heavy today. What began with excitement – as the fulfillment of a dream to play in the semi-state tournament – has ended tragically. We are praying today for the members of our Griffith school family, who have been injured.”
The expressway was closed, with only one lane open, for roughly four hours due to the school bus crash. Traffic was backed up for almost 10 miles during that time.
Athletic officials intend to meet with school administrators to reschedule the game.
As of Saturday evening, no one had been ticketed or charged in the crash. The investigation is ongoing.
[Image via Shutterstock]