FREEDOM, Ind. — Eleven students and a school bus driver here were taken to the hospital after a semi tractor trailer hit their bus on Monday.
Just before 8 a.m., a semi tractor trailer heading south on U.S. Route 231 slid across the center line and struck a northbound Spencer-Owen Community Schools bus carrying 31 passengers, according to a news release from Indiana State Police. The semi struck the front driver’s side head-on and then skidded down the entire left side of the bus, pushing the bus off the road and in the direction of a tree line.
Eleven of the students, who ranged in age from 7 to 17 years old, were transported to area hospitals for treatment for glass cuts and complaints of pain to the head, chest, and arms. The remaining students were transported to their school and were checked by the school nurse.
The school bus driver, Verl Keith, suffered hand and head injuries and was also taken to the hospital for treatment.
The driver of the semi, Christopher Lee Reinhardt, was cited for driving left of center and driving too fast for road conditions.
Trooper William Brown and emergency personnel at the scene praised Keith for his diligence and persistence as he fought to keep his heavily damaged bus upright and away from the approaching trees, according to the news release.
“The school bus left the roadway completely and could have easily turned over,” Brown said. “If that would have happened, this crash would have seen a lot more kids severely injured.”