Chattanooga Elementary School Bus Crash Rocks Tennessee, Multiple Fatalities Reported [Video/Updated]

An elementary school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee has reportedly resulted in multiple fatalities on Monday afternoon. At the time of the crash, which ended with the elementary school bus being wrapped around a tree, the bus was believed to be carrying roughly three dozen school children whose grades ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade.

According to Chattanooga Police Assistant Chief, Tracy Arnold, several people have died as a result of the bus crash. However authorities are not saying precisely how many lives have been lost at this time. Nor are they, as CNN reports, confirming if any children are among those who lost their lives in the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash.

Reportedly, 23 children had to be taken for medical treatment as a result of the devastating accident. The extent of their injuries is not immediately known.

TIME, however, is reporting that at least six people have died as a result of the Chattanooga bus crash; several of the deceased are reportedly children.

It is being reported the bus involved in the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash was transporting students from Woodmore Elementary. Law enforcement spokespersons, including Assistant Chief Arnold, has said that the victims of the bus crash are not being publicly identified at this time, regardless of their injury status. Not all parents have been notified at this time, and neither the media nor the public should expect notifications of who lost their lives and/or who was transported for medical attention until all parents have been contacted.

“Our hearts go out, as well as the hearts of all these people behind me, to the families, the neighborhood, the school, for all the people involved in this, we assure you we are doing everything we can.”

Early accounts indicate that the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash took place when the bus skidded and crashed for an unknown reason, flipped onto its side and slid at high velocity into a tree. Effectively, the bus ended up wrapped around the tree in question, and the process of freeing all of the victims of the bus crash was reportedly quite extensive. It is believed that the Chattanooga school bus was the sole vehicle involved in the deadly, devastating crash, a crash that is said to have “split the bus apart.” Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher has also spoken out on the horrific, deadly bus crash.

“A bus crash involving schoolchildren is every public safety professional’s worst nightmare but it’s also the thing that we all train for.”

The bus driver is said to have survived the tragic Chattanooga elementary school bus crash, and law enforcement are currently interviewing them in an attempt to find answers, including what caused the bus to lose control in the first place. The bus driver is said to be fully cooperating with law enforcement and their investigation into the deadly Chattanooga school bus crash.

It has been reported that a local blood bank has extended its operating hours on Monday evening due to the deadly, devastating bus crash, a crash that has sent victims flooding into local hospitals. While there has been no word on the condition of the surviving victims, the news of the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash has reportedly sent locals flocking to the blood bank in an attempt to help.

It has been reported that the lines to donate blood to help the victims of the Chattanooga bus crash stretch out the doors of the blood bank and up the street.

News of the Chattanooga bus crash has reached the highest level of Tennessee government on Monday evening. Reportedly, Governor Bill Haslam has spoken out about, calling the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash “a tragic event,” as well as offering assistance to those impacted by the devastation.

[***Update: The bus driver behind the wheel at the time of the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash has been arrested in connection with the tragedy.

As CNN reports, Johnthony Walker has been taken into custody and charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. That number could increase as the case proceeds. According to law enforcement, conditions were clear and dry at the time of the accident, and they believe that speed may have been a factor. A warrant has reportedly been issued so that law enforcement can obtain the “informational box on the school bus and review the video” of what happened leading up to the Chattanooga elementary school bus crash.***]

[Featured Image by (Bruce Garner/Chattanooga Fire Department via Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP Images]