20 middle school students have sustained minor injuries after their school bus was involved in a collision with two trucks on Interstate 94 on Wednesday, said authorities.
The accident occurred on the southbound I-94 near Deerfield, just 100 metres south of an off ramp to Deerfield road, said a spokesperson for the Illinois State Police Tollway District. The bus was transporting 43 students of Palombi Middle School in Lake Villa at the time.
At approximately 9.36am, a large truck rear-ended another truck on the highway. The impact caused the second truck to collide with the school bus, said Sergeant Timothy Moore, a member of the Illinois State Police Department. The school bus then veered off the highway and hit into a guard railing. The second truck also knocked a side mirror off another bus, said a spokesman for the Durham School Services.
Other motorists on the Interstate called emergency services, and over a dozen ambulances were dispatched to the scene of the accident. 20 of the 43 children on board were found to have sustained injuries, none of which were life threatening. Six of the injured passengers were transported to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, while the remaining injured children were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital to be treated.
The school bus, which was operated by Durham School Services, was transporting seventh grade students of Palombi Middle School to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, where they were going to watch a Chicago Wolves hockey game, said the Superintendent of the Lake Villa School District 41, John Van Pelt. The students that were found to be free of injuries at the scene were transported back to the school in a replacement bus, said a spokesperson for the school district.
Although all of the vehicles involved in the accident remained upright, both trucks and the bus had to be towed from the scene. Neither of the truck drivers was injured in the incident.
According to Moore, an investigation is being conducted into the cause of the accident. He added that there were no signs of alcohol or drug abuse by the truck driver that caused the initial collision, and that it remains to be seen whether charges will be laid against the driver. Eye witness reports and the reports of the school bus driver will also be considered in the investigation, said Moore.
Two of the southbound lanes of the I-94 were closed for several hours following the incident.