A semi truck driver is charged with operating while intoxicated in a crash involving a school bus.

A semi truck driver is charged with operating while intoxicated in a crash involving a school bus.

Photo: Canva/Saint Ignatius College Prep/School Bus Fleet

Student-athletes from a Chicago area college prep high school hockey team were injured after a semi truck slammed into the school bus they were riding in on November 12, according to WANE. The crash happened in Warsaw, Indiana, when the team was on its way back from a weekend hockey tournament.

Police said the bus had 26 people in total: the bus driver, two coaches, and the hockey team from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Three of the students were initially in critical condition and 13 other bus passengers suffered other injuries. Police said the students are now in stable condition. Ten passengers reportedly had no injuries. The student-athletes onboard ranged in age from 14 to 17, with most being 15.

Before the crash happened, Warsaw police were notified of reports of a tractor-trailer swerving into other lanes and speeding. WANE reported that officers were on their way to "intercept" the semi when they were notified it struck a school bus. The semi-driver continued driving, but eventually came to a stop off the roadway, about an eighth of a mile from the scene of the crash. An initial investigation indicated one of the student-athletes was ejected from the school bus as it was making a turn. The semi hit the rear right side of the bus. Warsaw police later confirmed the semi driver ran a red light by several seconds before striking the bus during its turn, based on nearby surveillance camera footage and eyewitness accounts.

The school bus driver consented to a blood draw due to the severity of the crash. Police said they detected a strong odor of alcohol when they talked to the driver of the semi, as well as slurred speech. Officers conducted a field sobriety test, which they said the driver failed. The driver, later identified as Victor Santos, refused a chemical test to confirm whether he was intoxicated. A search warrant was applied, allowing police to take the driver to a hospital for a bloow draw test. Santos was later charged with felony operating while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury.

Police said medics transported the critically injured students. The injured passengers, including players, coaches, and the bus driver, were taken to nearby hospitals via a Warsaw Community Schools bus.

The school released a statement on Sunday, saying in part, "our community stands in support of our JV hockey team that was involved in an accident after a travel contest last night."

St. Ignatius College Prep released a statement after 16 people were injured in a school bus crash.

St. Ignatius College Prep released a statement after 16 people were injured in a school bus crash.

Photo: Saint Ignatius College Prep

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