Near DOWNS, Ill. — A truck that reportedly entered the opposite lane of traffic collided head-on with a school bus here on Wednesday, killing the truck driver and a volunteer aboard the bus, police said.

Trooper Tracy Lillard from the Illinois State Police said in a press conference on Wednesday that the crash occurred at 8:32 p.m. on Interstate 74, and that one of the people killed was in the school bus: Charles Crabtree, a school volunteer and bus driver who was traveling with the basketball team.

Police added in the press conference that a preliminary investigation revealed that a semi tractor-trailer was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane and struck the school bus head on.

The school bus involved in the crash is from Normal Community West High School. The bus was transporting a junior varsity girls basketball team back from a game in Champaign, CNN reports.

Of the 12 people were involved in the crash, 11 were on the school bus (eight of those were students) and the other was the truck driver. Three people were airlifted to the hospital for serious injuries — the coach, school bus driver, and truck driver. All the students aboard the bus were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

In a press conference on Thursday at Normal Community West High School, Dave Johnson, the principal of the high school, said that the condition of the bus driver was unknown, and that Crabtree, the volunteer with the team, was also a bus driver who “loved to take those extra routes” for sporting events, and described him as a “great, caring person.”

The crash investigation is ongoing.

About the author
Nicole Schlosser

Nicole Schlosser

Former Executive Editor

Nicole was an editor and writer for School Bus Fleet. She previously worked as an editor and writer for Metro Magazine, School Bus Fleet's sister publication.

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