Authorities say a school bus driver was killed Monday when the bus of students he was driving veered off the road and flipped in northern New Mexico.
According to ABQ Journal, the crash happened early Monday morning near Vallecitos, a mountainous region of northern New Mexico. Police say the bus, carrying elementary, middle and high school students, was headed to an elementary school in the village of Ojo Caliente when it ran off the road and rolled.
It was not clear if the driver, identified as 69-year-old Pat Valdez, had a heart attack or died from the accident, authorities said.
“It appears the bus driver may have had a heart attack or some other medical event that caused the accident,” said Jake Arnold, spokesman for the Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office. “That’s our initial assessment, but we cannot tell for sure.”
In addition to driver’s death, nine students were injured in the crash.
Investigators said six injured students were taken to a local hospital for treatment for what District superintendent Tracie Phillips described as broken bones and scratches. One of the injured students who suffered a broken back had to be airlifted from the scene of the crash in Rio Arriba County to a hospital in Albuquerque.
Three other children were treated at the scene and released.
The crash is under investigation by New Mexico State Police.
“It is a tragedy and we are very saddened by events today,” Phillips said. “We are providing counseling for all of students, including those involved in the crash.”
KOBTV4 has more on the Vallecitos school bus crash in the video below: