FRANKTON, Ind – A school bus carrying as many as 60 middle school and high school students collided with a car on an icy road Wednesday morning, sending dozens of students to area hospitals.
More than 40 students received medical attention after the crash near the Madison County town of Frankton, but no life-threatening injuries were reported.
The crash was one of several statewide involving school buses Wednesday. Slick conditions also caused a bush to crash in the parking lot of an Anderson school, and seven buses slid off roads in the Evansville area. Weather-related crashes were blamed for at least five deaths across the state since Tuesday evening.
Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson expressed relief that the Frankton crash wasn't more serious.
"We're just thankful right now that it doesn't appear that we have anything very serious as far as injuries," he said.
Richardson said the crash occurred about 9:30 a.m. when the driver of the car was unable to stop and slid into the bus on a rural road about 35 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The bus was hit on the passenger side and landed on its driver's side in a field.
All the Frankton Junior-Senior High School students were off the bus when emergency crews arrived. Students and the driver helped those injured through the emergency hatch in bus roof, Richardson said.
Community Hospital in Anderson received 25 students from the crash, with a 12-year-old boy needing plastic surgery for complex facial cuts and a 13-year-old boy suffering a broken collarbone, said Katy Harrison Troxell, the hospital's marketing director.
Twenty-one other students from the crash were taken to St. Vincent Mercy in Elwood or St. John's Health System in Anderson. Only minor injuries were reported among those students.
The bus crash in Anderson happened as the vehicle, carrying elementary children, slid on ice in a parking lot and hit a fence, said Nancy Farley, transportation director for the Anderson Community Schools. Several children were taken to hospitals for medical attention, but none of the injuries were believed to be serious.
Seven Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. buses slid off area roads on Wednesday and others were slowed down by slick roads, district spokeswoman Marsha Jackson said. No injuries were reported.
The Evansville accidents happened even though the district delayed its opening by two hours.
"We had people out checking the roads and they didn't encounter icy patches," Jackson said. "But we can't cover 231 square miles every morning completely."
The Frankton-Lapel school district also was operating on a two-hour delay, but some thought the conditions were still too hazardous.
Mary Hobbs, 58, of Middleton, arrived at a friend's home a short time after the bus crashed and watched as ambulances took some of the children away.
"They had no business sending kids to school today. The country roads are horrible," she said. "I've gone through kids and grandkids and they had no business sending kids to school today."