A tractor-trailer truck collided with a St. Ignatius College Prep bus on Saturday night in Indiana, injuring sixteen students. Around 8 p.m. in Warsaw, roughly 50 miles south of South Bend, the fast and swerving semi struck the bus, according to a statement from Warsaw police.
There were two coaches and 23 members of the junior varsity boys hockey Wolfpack team from St. Ignatius on the bus. The group had just finished a tournament at Culver (Indiana) Military Academy and was on its way from dinner to a hotel.
The truck driver was detained, according to the police, on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. No charges have been publicly disclosed. Police said that when they arrived on the site, they “detected a strong stench of an alcoholic beverage on his person and in the cab of the semi.”
According to authorities, the semi-truck driver ran a red light as the bus driver was turning left off of U.S. 30 and struck the rear of the bus, flipping it on its side. According to authorities, the semi-driver drove west and eventually came to a stop less than a mile from the crossroads after veering off the road and into a ditch.
Following the collision, three of the students were sent to Fort Wayne Lutheran Hospital in “extremely critical” condition. By Sunday morning, they had been upgraded to a “stable” condition, according to Warsaw Police Captain Brad Kellar.
According to Kristyn Hartman, director of communications at St. Ignatius, one of those students had recovered from surgery as of Sunday morning. The other two students were treated at the trauma hospital, where they all continue to be, according to the team’s coaches, who described them as “smiling and communicating.”
According to officials, ten other passengers on the bus were unharmed. All were transported to Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital by a different school bus, where cops informed family members, according to the police. The students are 14 to 17 years old.
The semi driver was “swerving into other lanes and travelling at high speed,” according to calls to the police when they were informed that the vehicle had struck the school bus. A St. Ignatius representative stated that a Mass for the students was scheduled for Monday.
St. Ignatius President John Chandler sent parents an email saying, “Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest concern are with the coaches and players.