CHICAGO – Three students from Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago were upgraded to stable condition Sunday after a semitruck hit a bus carrying the school’s junior varsity hockey team Saturday in Northeast Indiana, authorities said.
There were 16 total injuries from the crash, which occurred at around 7 p.m. in Warsaw at U.S. Route 30 and Center Street. The bus was carrying 23 students, two coaches and a driver, said police in Warsaw, Indiana.
The driver of the semitruck was arrested for suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, police said.
The team was returning to its hotel from a hockey tournament in Culver, Indiana.
The bus was making a left turn when the driver of the semitruck ran a red light, hitting the right rear of the bus, police said, based on eyewitnesses and a nearby surveillance camera. The impact flipped the bus onto its side, and at least one student was ejected from the bus, according to Warsaw police.
One student is out of surgery, a spokesperson for Saint Ignatius said.
Of the three students who had critical injuries, two were taken by ambulance to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and one is now at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne.
Some of the hockey coaches met with two of the students who were seriously injured. The students were smiling and communicative Sunday, the spokesperson for the school said.
The other injured were taken to Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital in Warsaw, police said. Ages of the students on the bus ranged from 14 to 17, and most are 15 years old.
Warsaw police said the driver had slurred speech and they detected a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person” and in the cab of the truck, according to Warsaw police Captain Brad Kellar. The driver failed field sobriety tests and refused to consent to a chemical test before police were granted a search warrant, which allowed hospital staff to draw blood for testing.
A few minutes before officers arrived at the scene of the crash, they had received reports that a truck was swerving into other lanes, speeding and driving off the road on U.S. Route 30 entering Warsaw city limits, according to police.
The investigation is still active. The driver, a 58-year-old man from Brooklyn, New York, is in custody on a felony charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, causing serious bodily injury, according to police.
“Our hearts and prayers are with our families,” the Saint Ignatius spokesperson said. “Thank you to the Warsaw Police department for taking care of our students and our families and our coaches.”
The Chicago Blackhawks tweeted in support of the team Sunday morning.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to the Saint Ignatius College Prep’s hockey team, their coaches and their families after the team was involved in a serious bus accident last night,” the Blackhawks stated. “Please join us in keeping them in your thoughts.”
The school will hold mass for the students and families Monday.