Police are currently investigating the exact cause of a bus accident near Wadsworth, Il. Dozens of elementary students were on board the bus at the time of the crash, and one driver was killed.
The accident occurred when a school bus driver reportedly ran a red light, crashing into two SUVs in the middle of an intersection. The fatality was a driver of one of the SUV’s.
Witnesses at the scene told first responders and authorities that the bus driver ran the red light at the intersection of Kilbourne Road and Highway 173 before t-boning a Jeep Wrangler and crashing into a Jeep Cherokee.
Since the crash, Mark Curran, Lake County Sheriff, has heard from a number of witnesses that state the light was not red when the bus driver proceeded into the intersection. “We have disputes over the color of the light,” reported Lake County Seargeant Sara Balmes at a press conference.
The driver of the bus, a female, was taken quickly to the hospital where she continues to receive care for her injuries. While hospitalized, the driver will undergo drug and alcohol testing to determine if she was unfit to drive due to substance use or drunkenness.
According to area news, the Durham School Services, which employs the bus driver, stated that it was working together with the authorities at the Lake County Sheriff’s office “to determine the cause of the serious accident Friday morning that involved a Durham school bus. Our thought and prayers are with the family of the driver of the Jeep who sustained fatal injuries,” said Durham School Services.
The bus was en route to nearby Newport Elementary School, carrying 35 students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. The vehicle was traveling west on Highway 173 when it t-boned a Jeep Wrangler, crushing it from the back seat forward and killing it’s driver, Philip Smith, 62. A Jeep Cherokee Laredo was also damaged badly near the rear of the bus as it knocked over to fall on the driver’s side with its nose in the roadside ditch.
By the time emergency first responders reached the scene of the accident, the children had exited the bus and were described by authorities as the “walking wounded.” Of the 35 on the bus, 23 were considered in fair to good condition and were transported to Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville by bus. The remaining 12 students had more serious injuries and were transported to hospitals by ambulance.
Chief of operations for the Lake County sheriff’s office, Brian Keller, stated that the children involved in the accident displayed a “complete range of emotions. Some of the kids were upbeat and jovial as if they got off a ride at Great America and other kids were asking for their mothers and wanted to go home. But when we engaged in conversation with these kids and asked them questions about hobbies and sports, they changed the page real quick and were very upbeat and smiling.
By noon the same day, all but one child had been released from the hospital with only minor injuries such as contusions and bruises.
Although the investigation continues, no formal charges had been filed by the end of the day, nor were there any citations given.
Did you put your child’s life in another’s hands, only to find that they put your child at risk? If your child was injured in a bus accident similar to the one mentioned, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. Contact child injury attorney Jeffrey Killino today to discuss your options with an experienced personal injury and bus accident attorney.