1 killed, nearly 40 injured in school bus crash

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A school bus packed with kids barreled into two vehicles, killing one person and injuring nearly 40.

Lake County Sheriffs say the bus may have run a red light, and are doing urine and blood tests on the female bus driver as part of standard operating procedure.

The crash happened at Route 173 and Kilbourne Road near Wadsworth at about 8 a.m. Friday. The bus was going westbound to the Newport Elementary School, and a Jeep Wrangler was heading southbound. A Jeep Cherokee was also hit.

The driver of the Wrangler was killed. Thirty-five children on the bus, and the two passengers in the Cherokee, were sent to hospitals.

Twenty-five total patients — 23  children — were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. As of 2 p.m. Friday, only one patient remained at the hospital under observation. All other patients were discharged.

Another 12 kids and several other victims were transported to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan and St. Catherine’s Hospital in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.

The fire department didn’t have to remove any of the children from the bus.

“Some of the kids were upbeat,  jovial as if they just got off a ride at Great America and other kids were asking for their mother or father and wanted to go home. But when engaged in conversation with these kids and asking them questions about hobbies and sports, they changed the page really quick, and very upbeat and smiling and engaging in conversation,” said Brian Keller, chief of operations for the Lake County sheriff’s office.

Hospital social workers and pastors were also on hand to help counsel the children and their families.




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      • Jenee

        I agree 100% with you. My kids are on bus 22 and it is bus 23 that was in the accident. I am very angry with the bus driver. An innocent person was killed because of a stupid decision to run a red light with a bunch of children’s lives in danger. I hope she hates herself.

    • ggg

      did anyone actually read the article ? how about some prayers for the family of the male driver of the wrangler, who was killed by the bus travelling late thru the red light…c'mon people

    • John

      Most bus drives have total disregard for traffic rules. See them speeding during morning and afternoon hours as if they were carrying convicts instead of kids. Knew something like this was about to happen.

    • ladybug 12

      What about praying for the family and friends who lost a loved one in this horrible accident. Yes, thank God the kids are safe. But, a life was lost…a very precious life…lets pray for his family and friends.

  • Akiko

    My stepdaughter went to that school a few years ago (she is in high school now) but I believe that kids from Zion go there since that is where we were living at that time.

      • John

        Is it there, their, or they’re? Is it here or hear? Don’t worry, a lot of people have trouble remembering which to use. Some tips to help:
        There: when not referring to people. There is pizza in the oven.
        There: location. You are tHERE, I am HERE.
        Hear: hEAR, meaning listen to, has an EAR in it. Did you hear that song?
        Their: theIr referring to people, has an I in it. I am a person.
        They’re: is short for they are. They’re staying here, not going there.
        Hope you find this helpful and not offending.

      • Guest

        When is the right time. It's unfortunate that these words are not used properly by a lot of people. John is just being helpful. Thanks, John.

      • Kurt

        He's not trolling. "There" and "they're" have completely different meanings, and it's embarrassing that people honestly don't know the difference between the two.

      • audreyyadams

        What's embarrassing is that two individuals choose to start a debate on proper grammar, rather than focus on the tragedy that occurred today.
        My thoughts and prayers go out to those poor babies and families. Such a terrifying day for them!

  • Carri

    This is part of the Beach Park School District, just west of Zion. My children went there. A great school! Praying that these kids are OK!

    • Annettebee13

      Hi this is annette.i am one of the kids from the school. The bus was on the way to newport elementary school DISTRICT 3.there was nobody hurt exept the driver.i heard about this today in the morning when my teacher told me about the accident.it was bus 23 so that is all i know for now thank you.

  • celeste

    Oh my, just heard that there was something happening and thought Id check it out. Wow, didn't expect this. My heart goes out to the students and parents of the injured children.

      • dinerms

        It was negligence by the bus driver running the light. That is not an accident, it's vehicular manslaughter. I hope he is charged if he ran the light. Didn't the parents and the family of the dead person pray for them before this? If so, why did it happen? I never get these "pray" comments.

    • dinerms

      Wow, how about condolences for the family of the poor dead guy in the Jeep. WHEN are drivers going to learn to stop for a yellow light especially when drivers huge vehicles. That bus driver if he did go through the red light, just killed the person in the Jeep.

    • Annettebee13

      Hi this is annette.i am one of the kids from the school. The bus was on the way to newport elementary school DISTRICT 3.there was nobody hurt exept the driver.i heard about this today in the morning when my teacher told me about the accident.it was bus 23 so that is all i know for now thank you.

      Read more: http://wgntv.com/2013/04/05/roll-over-school-bus-

    • Pewe

      I am a driver. Can u imagine trying to keep those kids in belts? nearly impossible! and the little ones would need help and the big ones would smack each other with them. The buses hold about 72-80 kids. Try to keep all of them belted very hard trck to accomplish

      • Lauren F

        Then they need to hire bus monitors. You take off the seatbelt? The bus gets pulled over and a parent has to drive you the rest of the year. Period.

      • jim

        that is quite possibly the dumbest thing i have ever heard. Trying to get seat seatbelts on school buses would be impossible. Pull the bus over when someone takes off their belt? You plan on taking 3 hours rides to school lol?

      • anonymom

        A 3 hour ride to school is always better than a 10 minute ride to identify your childs body at the morgue

      • nathan

        I agree with bus monitors… We need to force the state to budget for schools to be able to fund them, but I know many parents that don't have the ability to drive their kids to school every day. I don't think such a policy is sustainable.

      • State transportation

        And you will be Ok with that plan when the state tells you they are taking 10% more of your money to fund it? Maybe more. You are talking about doubling the staff requiered to transport. this would cost a lot of money. When it is done, you will still not be able to free all the children in a fire or in water. The two most horrific bus accidents with large numbers of deaths, that have ever happened were in KY, one the children burned alive, the other they drowned. Neither bus had seat belt, which would have cost even more lives. None of your children were fataly injurder, the bus protected them as it was designed.

    • State transportation

      That sound like a good idea, BUT if the bus had caught fire, and all those children were buckled in, we would be blaming the seat belts. Schol bus seating is designed to protect children in an accident. Do the research Children are the safeest riding to and from school on a bus. More children are injured or killed riding to school in cars then on busses.

    • Bryan

      School busses aren't like cars. There's a whole different set of dynamics in play. In most bus accidents, the belts would present more of a safty hazard than not being buckled. Safety belts are designed to restrain a body that has been propelled due to energy transfer from the accident into the body. Because school busses are so large and compartmentalized, they absorb much more of the impact forces. Rarely are any children killed due to the impact of a bus crash. It would be much more likely that you'd experience injury or loss of life due to children being trapped on a bus due to safety belts.

    • crystal

      That is not feasible. As a former bus driver I can tell you why. If there were another accident such as this and god forbid the bus started on fire the ONE driver would not be able to release all the children from their belts. It is a safety issue as to why they are not on buses. The bus is designed to protect the children based on how the seats are developed. As you can tell from this horrible accident, there are a lot of injuries but the students will recover. That is the basis of the design.

    • MTM

      Another knee-jerk reaction to an accident without research or knowledge of the situation. "Quick! Let's throw a ton of money (that we don't have) at a project that will do more harm than good in the long run!". You should run for office. You'd fit in perfectly.

    • KellyA.

      I agree. I no longer allow my son to ride the bus. When he was in first grade the bus driver made him sit in the front seat, where there was nothing to protect him from going through the windshield if an accident ever happened. I asked the bus driver if he could make sure my son buckled his belt. The driver said NO. So no more bus after that. I used to work for HeadStart and every morning I got on the bus to unbuckle the little ones and get them off the bus. All it takes is a volunteer to be a bus monitor, it doesn't have to someone paid and increase taxes (as mentioned below). If schools would implement this program I guarantee there would be people more than willing to volunteer! I would be happy to if I didn't have have another child at home to care for! Also what needs to be done is proper safety training for the children riding the bus. They need to learn how to buckle themselves and unbuckle properly.. as well has teaching the older children to help the little ones. Another thing that would help is SAFE DRIVERS! Every single day I drive my son to school I see a bus driver run a red light, run a stop sign and speed.

    • Liane

      I'm a driver for a private school bus company near Chicago, all of our buses have belts & in Skokie IL, the districts require 3 belts per seat. NONE of the kids on my routes use them, they are a tripping hazard because they're so long they fall into the aisle of the bus, however there are some schools that do have monitors that ride both a.m. & p.m. routes and yes they DO help in keeping the kids under control so that I can concentrate on driving. Before we go assuming that someone was on their cell phone, wait for official reports to confirm or deny that fact. People need to be more observant of buses & commercial vehicles in general, just because you don't want to be stuck behind us cause were slow, doesn't justify you zooming around us and cutting us off, every time you do that you put your kids at risk of being involved in an accident such as this.
      I do hope the kids are OK & my condolences to the family of the deceased driver.

    • Mac

      Many tests and studies have shown that seatbelts in buses is a bad idea as more are injured the belts and in a rollover, can not be released.

    • Octavius

      This tragedy continues to happen. School Boards should be held liable if seat belt laws are not applied and enforced.

    • slinky56t

      If that bus totally flipped over and was resting on its roof. Those children would've been HANGING UPSIDE DOWN until help came. I wouldn't want my child hanging upside down that long. And then they get the seat belt undone and go flying down . Do NOT VOTE THAT THEY MAKE IT MANDATORY! I used to drive for a company up in Gurnee, IL and one up in Lake Forest, IL. I was a good driver. My kids were the best and so were the parents!

      • slinky56t

        Also, one of the companys' had seatbelts on their busses. Would you like to know what the kids used the seat belts for? Well, it wasn't for safety reasons. The hit other kids with them. They would buckle them across the aisles so we (the drivers) had to spend 10-15 minutes undoing them and putting them back for the next group to think of other ways to use them. No you don't need seat belts on busses!

  • mec

    God, please spare these children's lives. help them make complete recoveries and help their parents and families believe for complete healing. God, please heal up all wounds and bless the medical staff and emergency responders too. AMEN

    • Lauren F

      Why would the busdriver have to unbuckle them? All my kids knew how to buckle/unbuckle themselves in the safety seats, then in regular seatbelts, since age 4. I would always check to be sure they did it correctly, which took 2 seconds, but they did it on their own.

  • nathan

    Now if we had armed guard on every school bus…. The guard would have been able to assist the children after the accident. Also, by armed guards I mean guards with arms… Not weapons because seriously those NRA peeps are cray cray.

    Seriously tho, If we want seatbelts and a safer bus environment we need to have someone to over see the kids while driver focuses on driving. It'll be too much of a challenge for a driver to enforce seat belts while driving.

    It comes down to school districts trying to pay two people for a job that is typically done by a single person… Which budget cuts affecting schools we really need to shift our priorities.

    • Bill

      Seatbelts do work. They keep small ones from flying around. Arms do work to. I have three children in public school and would not mind having someone in the school who could quickly respond to a psycho. I am not a gun advocate, I just want to see my children at dinner.

    • ColdWarVey75

      You are an idiot. What does this have to do with anything. Also I am former military and retired law enforcement and a member of the NRA.

    • Sam

      How about parents just teaching their kids to put on the seatbelt when they get on the bus. Why does it always have to be someone else's job to make sure parents teach their kids to do the right thing!!

  • Momma

    I am a mom of 3 of those kids…almost all the kids are ok…shaken up and scared but OK. There are a small handfull that have MINOR injuries…Praise God…He had is Hand on that BUS!

    • Offended

      You truly are a complete asshole, typical message board troll. The mother has every right to express her religious beliefs. If you disgaree, fine, shut the hell up. No need to pick this time and tragedy to voice your opinions. You tell her to keep her fairy tales to herself, take a lesson and keep your opinions to yourself.

    • Lynda

      Oh good grief. Glad your kids are okay but god should have prevented the accident. I am sure the parents of the dead child don't feel the same way.

      • Dawn

        Have they identified who died? Last I heard, they didn't. So it may not be a child. Looking at the condition of the Jeep, it may be that driver. Regardless, it is a very sad situation.

    • ElginGuest

      So, what you're saying is that god caused that bus to rollover? Because, seriously, if you really truly believe that god had a hand in protecting those children in this horrific accident, why couldn't he have had a hand in just preventing the whole thing in the first place. I never understand how people always praise god for sparing them; that he must have intervened somehow to save their life. You hear it all the time, especially after natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, etc.) Well, darn it, why doesn't god just not let it happen in the first place. I mean, if he is so powerful to jump in and protect you from whatever calamity that has befallen you, why doesn't he show up on scene just a few seconds earlier and prevent it altogether!

      After all that, I really do hope the children are okay, and I'm happy to hear yours are well. My best hopes, thoughts, and wishes go out to the children and their loved ones!

  • Linda

    Heartbreaking to hear about the 1 fatality…I pray for the wellness of all others involved. I hope all those children get great emotional support from family, friends, teachers, etc..

  • marisapozowgntv

    CLTV is looking for parents of children who were on the school bus involved in the crash in Newport Township. Please call our newsroom at (773) 883-3203 if you know someone involved.

  • Kathy

    Don't forget about the other drivers involved in this accident and their families. As terrible as it is that these inncocent children were involved in such an accident, we cannot forget the other people involved. Please pray for those people too, as well as those children. And God Bless that family that has lost a loved one in this terrible accident. And pray that there were no more lives lost. God Bless the children, drivers and their families. I was in tears listening to the radio in the car totally feeling the panic that a parent could have not knowing if my child was on that bus. This was a terrible accident and God Bless everyone involved

    • Bill

      Finally someone called out the ACTUAL loss here. Yes it was probably tradjic for those kids, and obvoiusly everyone's hope is that they aren't traumatized by this accident, BUT someone lost there life, which seems so far to be the fault of the bus driver. My heart goes out to the driver of the Jeep Wrangler, and his family, they are the real people suffering today.

  • JOHN

    The seat belt issue on Buses has been debated for years…..this kind of sounds like gun control. Take the guns away and everything will be fine……lol! Apparently some of the people who have commented have never been on a school bus……there is no way to enforce seat belt use and I agree it might make things worse……and the districts are not going to hire a second person to ride on the bus…..actually that's pretty silly. School bus accidents are actually kind of rare and the way they are built to stand up to a crash makes them pretty safe.

    • Anonymous user

      Here in FL in Pinellas County all buses have seatbelts and assistants on each bus and damn right it saves lives in rollovers such as this. My daughter was just in a bus accident, not a rollover, but I am relieved every child in Pinellas County has the ability to use a seatblet, which by law they must use in their parents cars. What a confusing message and what a tragedy that all buses do not have them. To cite compartmentilization or some children cannot use a seatbelt is not only ridiculous, but wreckless. Practice drills like fire drills, hurricane and tornado drills, you practical seatbelt drills and exiting the bus in an emergency which they do. It's a total disgrace that any child in this country is not afforded the ability to wear a seatbelt when buses can and do travel 55 on highways along side semis and car, some of which speed and the very real possibility of a rollover accident. I would rather my child and all children be buckled than not. The assistant can check everyone is buckled and yes someone can unbuckle or need help, but WHY TAKE THE CHANCE of not having them!

    • Katy

      I am a school bus driver, our busses have seat belts. Busses are the safest way for children to get to and from school. The problems I see are children need to face forward and stay out of the aisle. parents need to enforce this along with the bus drivers. If the bus is hit hard enough they become missiles. We also need the laws to be enforced more. On a daily basis I am cut off by cars that are in a hurry. busses have a longer stopping distance. People just do not realize that it could be their children on the bus.

  • penquin

    So I wonder which one was texting, speeding, talking on their cell, etc etc, ran the light and caused the accident? People – pay attention when you drive, slow down or this could be you!! Feel very sorry for the innocents in this accident.

    • Teresa

      The bus “may have been late on the light” as it traveled through the intersection and struck a Jeep Wrangler, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said. A Jeep Cherokee was also struck and heavily damaged.

      The fatality is said to be male and the driver of the Jeep Wrangler, but his identity has not been released. An autopsy is scheduled for later today.

      Read more: http://wgntv.com/2013/04/05/roll-over-school-bus-

    • Paul

      What part of the story confused you? The police already said it was the bus driver's fault. Funny how nobody is blaming him or her. You run a light with a bus full of children?! Mandatory jail time.

    • sheri

      So obviously you got it right. The BUS DRIVER ran the light, and now I have lost a friend due to the BUS DRIVER. Thank you very much.

  • Matthew

    As for seatbelts, I know the person in charge of the buses for our local school district. For him, he sees them as more as a detriment then a help. His concern is that the belts would become weapons and used to harm kids rather then protect them.

  • C C

    We thank God for "saving" the children, but we don't blame him for letting this happen in the first place?

    Double standards, everywhere.

    • Offended

      Wow insightful commentary. Really a good time and place to debate your theological beliefs. I am sure you would appreciate wondeful comments like this if your family was on the bus. You can have whatever religious beliefts you want, but you are a true, true jerk.

      • C C

        Where did I state my beliefs? I am a Christian, however, I don't make ignorant comments like "Thank God for keeping them safe! But oh wait, someone died, why didn't God save them too?".

        You don't have to be an Atheist to be a realist. God didn't play a role here. It was careless driving by one of the parties that caused this tragedy, NOT a higher power at play.

      • Offended

        Why is this the forum to be debating what God causes or doesn't cause? This is a news message board. Go debate in your church or wherever you want to have discussions. You are on a message board filled with worried family members criticizing people for making a utterly harmless comment (which 90% of our society would) in thanking God that that their children are safe. Truly, get a life and have some respect.

    • Bill

      I thank those that give me nice birthday presents. I don't "blame" those that don't. I thank God for the children being (relatively) safe. I wouldn't "blame" him for a random auto accident if they weren't.

      Troll on, bro.

      • C C

        Do you also thank God for causing at least one family to not have their loved one come home tonight?

        God has nothing to do with this. Accidents can, and will, happen.

  • Michelle

    It sounds like the bus ran the light and smashed into the person and killed him. So you really shouldn't assume someone was "texting, speeding, talking on their cell, etc etc," Someone is dead have some respect.

    • Sandy

      Penguin mentioned "ran the light and caused the accident" He/she didn't assume anything. He/she was just wondering who caused the accident, i.e. what happened; and felt bad for the ones who are in the accident because of the actions of someone else. Penguin didn't show any disrespect.

      • Jocelyn

        Actually that is not true. Penguin a ssumed that this accident was a result of someone's negligence. Which actually is true, it was the bus driver.

  • Guest

    According to the press conference, the preliminary report based on witnesses was that the bus may have been at fault, running the light and t-boning the car.

  • Guest 1

    They should at least have seatbelts available on the buses. The driver can simply remind kids to put their seat belts on while they enter the bus and tell them they can get in trouble if they don't. Then one time during the first week of school the driver can stop the bus walk back and give all the kids without seatbelts detentions / demerits or whatever. After that 90% of the kids will listen, 90% of the time.The other 10% are no worse off than before. No extra staff required.

    • Nick

      Seriously? Do you know anything about working in a school? Demerits? How old are you? Since when have kids EVER listened to a bus driver? Kids NEVER listen to the bus driver.

    • ChiTownBorn

      You apparently know absolutely nothing about the studies that have already been done about seat belts on buses. They are not necessary and would cost each state roughly 170 million. Many federal and academic studies have concluded that school buses are the safest form of ground transportation of all. The National Safety Council says they're about 40 times safer than the family car. They are much heavier and passengers sit much higher. About 6 children die each year in school bus accidents while 800 die by walking, biking or being driven to school. Do research before you speak.

    • another guest

      I work in a middle school. One of the biggest drivers of behavior referrals to the deans is bus behavior…especially seat belts. The statistics cited by the poster ("90% of the kids will listen 90% of the time') is definitely not true. The second, oddly enough, is defiance, insubordination, and disrespect. We don't allow food or candy or gum on the buses, but that doesn't stop the behavior; and enforcement is nearly impossible because the driver needs to drive, not babysit kids who think it's a game to bait the driver. At that point, the only option left to the bus driver is to pull over, park the bus, and call the police. Even when THAT has been done, the same child will continue to cause problems, and the child cannot be banned from the bus. I'm glad I'm a teacher and not a bus driver.

    • slinky56t

      By the time you walk 1/2 way to the rear of the bus-those kids will have themselves buckled. As soon as you turn around they've got them unbuckled Won't work-Sorry

  • Kathy

    At this point, does it really matter whose fault it is? The people involved know what really happened. And the person "who caused the accident" now has to live with the knowledge of what he/she has done for the rest of their lives, that they inadvertently with no malice caused someone to lose their life. And for that family of the loved one lost, to find a way to move forward with their lives. Let's keep focused on what happened and not the why right now. There are many families that need to pick up the pieces from such a terrible accident – the bus driver who was responsible for the safety of these children, the children who have experienced something that may have just changed their lives forever, the parents and families of these children that now have to help them get over their experience, the drivers of the other cars involved and the family that now has to bury a loved one. Stay focused on the people right now, not the cause. Do that tomorrow or the next day or when all the details come out, and then make your stand

    • Guest

      Of course it matters whose fault it was! One can't just say "oh well, the person is dead now, nothing we can do…" and allow a driver to blame to walk away without being held accountable. The faster the reason for the accident is found, the faster people can heal. My heart goes out to the family of the dead man. Thankfully no child was killed.

    • penquin

      Sorry, but respectfully disagree. The time to send out the point about distracted driving is in the moment, when a tragedy occurs. I am not saying anything about the actual cause of this accident, but rather hoping that people, while this tragedy is fresh, will think about their own driving habits and realize that any one of us could cause something like this if we are distracted. Whether it is by an electronic device or trying not to get caught by a red light because we are running late, a distraction is a distraction. Unfortunately in our world of a twenty four news cycle, this story may not be around tomorrow. Or at least, in a very diminished capacity. I feel deeply for this family who now must live with the aftermath of distracted driver, just as my family has for over 30 years.

  • Guest

    The analysis of who was at fault was pointed at the commenter who assumed that person who caused the accident was one of the other vehicles and was driving distracted. The fact that it was the bus driver, a person who should absolutely know better than to run a red-light with a bus filled with kids, is not a minor matter. I'm pretty sure the school district cares, especially when the lawsuits start.

  • guest3

    School buses are some of the safest vehicles on the road, weighing 10,000 or more empty. Seat belts are more of a liability. In an emergency, i can't imagine trying to get a full bus full of students out quickly. i can hardly get my own kids 6 and 8 buckled and unbuckled in a timely fashion most of the time.

  • Guest 2

    So sad that a school bus driver with children on it had to run a light and risked all those kids along with killing an innocent man! This just breaks my heart that a family lost their son, husband, brother etc etc today :(