WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) – Three student-athletes from a Chicago high school hockey team were critically injured when a semi truck slammed into the school bus they were riding in Saturday evening, police say. In addition to the three students critically injured, 13 other people on the bus were also hurt, according to police.
Police said the bus had 26 people on it, including two coaches, the bus driver, and the St. Ignatius College Prep high school hockey team. The team was in Indiana for the weekend for a tournament. The team was having dinner in Warsaw, Indiana, and was heading to a hotel at the time of the crash, according to police.
Before the crash happened, police said they were notified by dispatch of reports of a tractor-trailer swerving into other lanes and speeding. Warsaw police officers were on their way to “intercept” the semi when they were notified it hit a school bus. Multiple first responders responded to the scene and it was determined multiple children were injured, according to police.
Police said the ages of the student-athletes range between 14 and 17 years old with most being 15. Medics transported two of the critically injured student-athletes to a hospital in Fort Wayne. The other critically injured student-athlete, as well as others needing medical attention, were taken to a hospital in Warsaw.
An initial investigation showed one of the student-athletes was ejected from the bus as it was making a turn, police said. The semi hit the rear right side of the bus.
Police said the semi driver had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. The semi-driver failed a field sobriety test, according to Warsaw police. Police asked the driver to consent to a chemical test, but police said he refused. A search warrant was granted, allowing officers to take the driver to a hospital for a blood draw test.
The driver has been identified as 58-year-old Victor Santos of Brooklyn, New York. He was charged with a felony operating while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury. The crash remains under investigation.