25 students, two bus drivers injured after Lawrence school buses collide

At least 20 children were injured in a school bus crash. (WISH Photo/Marcus Collins)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Officials say 25 high school students were injured after one Lawrence Township school bus rear-ended another on the city’s northeast side Friday morning.

One bus rear-ended the other near Fall Creek Road and Shadeland Avenue just after 8:30 a.m. 40 Lawrence North High School students were on board, according to an Indianapolis EMS.

“There’s one that has substantial damage to the back, to the rear of the bus,” IMPD Officer Aaron Hamer said. “And the other has substaintial damage to the front of the bus.”

Police say the children had minor injuries. Both bus drivers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries as well.

An Indianapolis EMS official said students were taken to Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital, St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, Community Hospital North and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent.

Community Hospital North said five students and the two bus drivers are being treated at that location. Peyton Manning Children’s hospital received six students. They were being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Parents rushed to nearby hospitals to find their loved ones following the crash.

“When I did talk to him, because that’s how I found out about the accident. He told me the bus had just had an accident and his lip and mouth and stuff is swollen. One bus ran into the other bus,” said Tamika Thomas.

The collision caused traffic delays on northbound I-465 up to Pendleton Pike. Just before 10:30 a.m., IMPD said the roads were reopened.

Lawrence Township Schools declined to do an interview. A spokesperson said the bus is not equipped with seat belts for the students. The district said the focus was on the injured students, and reuniting them with their parents.

A number of agencies are involved in the investigation.

Ron Chew is the president of the Indiana State School Bus Drivers Association.

“Anytime there’s a school bus involved the state police are involved immediately,” he said. “The State Department of School Transportation is notified that there was an accident and then they study the details of the accident.”

He was surprised to hear about a bus versus bus accident.

“They are very rare,” he said.

Chew said many factors could have contributed.

“It’d be interesting to know whether the driver was following too closely or their attention could have gotten diverted by something on the bus, the streets could have been slick,” he said.

He also mentioned it’s possible there was a mechanical error.

More than an hour after crash, parents 24-Hour News 8 spoke with said the district informed them of the incident. ” They sent to my email, and then they also sent a message to my phone,” parent, Silvernus Ate Afat said. “When I picked up, I listened to it.”

Parents are asked to contact the school district for information on their children.

Message parents received about the bus crash. (WISH photo)
Message parents received about the bus crash. (WISH photo)