A dozen other people were injured after the bus struck a bridge support beam on the city’s east side, officials said. Two children are listed in critical condition, WTHR reported.
Police spokesman Sgt. Anthony Schneider says the bus carrying students from Lighthouse Charter School struck a bridge abutment about 7:45 am Monday in the 900 block of Emerson Avenue, near Southeastern Avenue. Aerial images from WTHR show the front of the school bus mashed into one of the support pillars for a train bridge.
The driver of the bus died at the scene. At least eight children injured on the bus have been taken to Wishard Hospital. No word yet on what led to the crash. The bus was transporting children to Lighthouse Charter School on Sloan Avenue, just north of Beech Grove.
According to WISH-TV, officials said one child was stuck under the front wheel of the bus for some time, but crews were able to remove the child, who was still alive. WISH-TV reports that as many as 50 children ranging from ages 5 to 16 may have been on the bus.
Mitch Gibbony, who works for Beelman Trucking Co. adjacent to the scene of the crash, told IndyStar.com he was on his way to work when he saw “lots of smoke.”
“By the time I got there, the bus was already wrecked. I stopped and helped the kids get outside,” Gibbony told the newspaper. “There were a lot of kids on that bus.”
One witness told WISH-TV she was on her way to work, headed northbound on Emerson Avenue, when she saw the crash.
“I couldn’t figure out what it was that was under the bridge,” Tami Presley told the TV channel. “As I was pulling under I just see kids just start jumping off.”
Presley told WISH-TV she heard screaming and crying and saw many kids with bloody noses.
“I just tried to mostly console the children,” Presley said.
About 600 students attend the kindergarten through 10th grade school. Miller Transportation has a contract with the school to operate the bus, and there haven’t been any prior accidents with them, said Cheryl Bates, director of operations for the Massachusetts-based Lighthouse Academies, a national nonprofit network of charter schools in seven states.
“Students that are not injured are on their way to school right now,” she told msnbc.com. “We’ve got counselor service there for students and staff to process what has happened … we’re just all pretty saddened and shocked by this horrible incident.”
A call placed to Miller Transportation was not immediately returned.