Police: Trucker in school bus accident had been drinking
WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) – Warsaw police say the Chicago students are now in stable condition after being injured in an accident on Saturday night. Three student-athletes were initially in critical condition after a tractor-trailer hit the bus carrying a Chicago high school hockey team. 13 others were injured and 10 people were uninjured.
Police said the bus was carrying a total of 26 people, including two coaches, the bus driver and the high school St. Ignatius College Prep hockey team out of Chicago, Illinois. The bus was in Indiana for the weekend for a hockey tournament in Culver. The team was having dinner in Warsaw and heading to a hotel at the time of the crash, according to police.
The crash happened just after 8 p.m. at the intersection of US 30 and Center Street. Before the crash happened, police were tipped off by reports of a tractor-trailer swerving into other lanes and speeding up, police said.
Warsaw police were on their way to ‘intercept’ the tractor-trailer when they were informed that it had hit a school bus. Several first responders responded to the scene and it was determined that several children had been injured, according to police.
A neighboring business showed the WANE 15 surveillance video that captured the accident on Monday, but they chose not to share the video publicly due to the ongoing investigation.
The video shows the bus in the eastbound lanes making a left turn from US 30 onto Center Street. The video shows that the bus clearly had a green arrow to allow the turn.
Before the bus could cross the intersection, the tractor-trailer ran through a red light at full speed and hit the rear of the bus, causing the bus to spin nearly 180 degrees as it swerved. flipped to the side.
Doctors transported two of the seriously injured student-athletes to a hospital in Fort Wayne. Doctors also transported the other seriously injured student-athlete and other injured student-athletes were taken to hospital in Warsaw. The rest of the players, coaches and the bus driver were taken to a Warsaw hospital via a Warsaw Community Schools bus, according to police.
The students are now all listed in stable condition, according to a Sunday morning update from Warsaw police. The president of St. Ignatius spoke to WGN-TV about the incident:
Police said the bus driver cooperated with investigators and consented to a blood draw due to the seriousness of the investigation.
The semi continued west on US 30 and came to a stop off the roadway, about an eighth of a mile from where the crash happened, police said.
An initial police investigation indicates that one of the student-athletes was ejected from the bus. Warsaw police later confirmed the semiconductor driver ignored a red light for several seconds before crashing into the bus during its turn.
Police said they detected a strong smell of alcohol when they contacted the driver of the tractor-trailer, as well as the driver with a speech impediment. The Warsaw police then conducted an investigation by the OWI. The semiconductor failed a field sobriety test, according to police. Police asked the driver to consent to a chemical test, but police say he refused. A search warrant was applied for and granted allowing them to take the driver to the hospital for a blood test. The driver was identified as Victor Santos, 58, of Brooklyn, New York. He is currently charged with a felony of acting while intoxicated causing grievous bodily harm.
According to the police, the ages of the student-athletes range between 14 and 17, with most being 15 years old. All family members have been notified of the accident, according to police.
Santos’ truck had a logo for “N&V Express Trucking LLC” on its side. Online records show the company is based in New Jersey and has only one truck and one driver.
WANE 15 attempted to call the number listed for the company twice. Both attempts resulted in messages that the number was not in service.
As of 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, online court records showed no formal charges against Santos. A call to the Kosciusko district attorney’s office was not returned.
The accident is still under investigation.