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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A serious school bus crash critcally injured six people and left between 30 to 40 students and adults hurt. All passengers involved were transported to five area hospitals with varying injuries from leg trauma, to head and neck pain.
The crash happened just after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday near the 23 mile marker of westbound Interstate 64 near the Jefferson County line. The Waggener High School students onboard the bus were returning from a college visit to Eastern Kentucky University when the crash occurred.
Lynn Wehling, a truck driver, captured the crash on his dashboard video camera. Wehling told WDRB News the school bus blew a tire, forcing it to swerve from the far right lane to the far left lane before crashing into the concrete median.
Wehling pulled over and tried to help.
"I helped try to get what kids weren't hurt off the bus, so they could get to the ones that were hurt," said Wehling. "A couple of kids their legs were hurt really bad and a couple of them had back injuries. And one of them he had to hit his head really hard on the window because he was vomiting up blood. He was hurt really bad."
As soon as the bus crashed into the concrete median, police say another car struck the concrete barrier in the east bound lanes. Police say the white car crashed after the bus hit the wall.
Michelle Johnson's son Richard was among the students hurt.
"He said the tire blew out it started going back and forth and went up against the wall and finally stopped," said Johnson.
Johnson says her 15-year old son was taken to Norton Brownsboro Hospital in pain with injuries to his neck and head. She said doctors there were also concerned about his spleen.
"It was really scary but now that I'm here i'm relieved to know that he's not as hurt as he could have been," Johnson said.
Besides her son, more than 30 students, four adults, including the bus driver, also went to the hospital. Another juvenile from a separate accident in the opposite lane was also transported.
The patients were taken to Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Suburban Hospital, Kosair Children's Hospital Brownsboro, Baptist Hospital East, and University Hospital. WDRB News has been told the injuries range from critical to minor.
Forty-two students were on the bus that was involved in the crash, according to JCPS spokesman Ben Jackey. Those numbers varied throughout the evening. A Metrosafe spokesman later said there were 35 patients, 30 of which were students. Those numbers were later changed to 41 people involved in the wreck, with 36 students injured.
Dr. Glen Franklin, a U of L Hospital trauma surgeon, tells WDRB News that 13 patients arrived there, with five or six more expected. He said six people had been treated in Room Nine, where patients in the worst condition are treated, but that most patients looked to be "fairly stable," and he said their families can "rest assured."
Dr. Franklin added, "We have some broken bones identified already. It seems that several people are complaining of jaw problems, so my suspicion is that probably their face hit a seat or something, broke a jaw....I don't have anyone right now that I would say is life-threatened, but I certainly have injuries and we're getting them through CAT scan and radiology trying to work out what level of injury each person has."
We're told that the Louisville EMS mass casualty bus was on the scene, and Shelby County EMS assisted with the patient transports.
A truck driver who witnessed the crash tells WDRB's Bennett Haeberle that he believes a tire blew just before the bus hit the median.
LMPD spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said investigators from the traffic unit were looking into the blown tire as a possible cause. She characterized it as a "mechanical failure."
If your child was on the bus that crashed on its way back from the Waggener H.S. trip to EKU, here's a number to call: (502) 574-2117. The caller must be a relative, you must know the child's name, and you will be asked a question to identify the child. You will then be told where the child is and how they were transported there.