Semi Driver Facing Felony DUI Charges After Slamming Into St. Ignatius College Prep Bus, Injuring 16 – NBC Chicago

Semi Driver Facing Felony DUI Charges After Slamming Into St. Ignatius College Prep Bus, Injuring 16 – NBC Chicago

Felony DUI charges were pending against a semi driver who police say ran a red light and crashed into a bus carrying 23 students and two hockey coaches from Chicago’s St. Ignatius College Prep over the weekend in Indiana.

The accident occurred around 8 p.m. Saturday in Warsaw, about 50 miles from South Bend, as the school’s junior varsity hockey team was headed to a hotel after competing in a tournament at Culver Military Academy.

Sixteen students were hurt, and three of them were taken in “very critical” condition to Fort Wayne Lutheran Hospital, police said. By Sunday morning they had been stabilized.

One of those students had come out of surgery Sunday morning, St. Ignatius communication director Kristyn Hartman said. Coaches of the team said the other two students were “smiling and communicating” after being treated at the trauma center, she said.

Ten others on the bus were uninjured, police said. All were taken by another school bus to Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital, where officers notified relatives, police said. The students are 14 to 17 years old.

The students were returning from dinner when the accident occurred, according to school officials. The bus driver was turning left off U.S. 30 when the semi driver went through a red light and struck the rear of the bus, flipping the bus on its side, police said.

The semi driver continued west and was stopped less than a mile away after driving off the road and into a ditch, police said. Police officers on the scene “detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and in the cab of the semi,” according to police.

Police said they already were responding to calls reporting a semi driver “swerving into other lanes and driving at excessive speed” before being alerted that the driver had crashed into the school bus.

The driver, 58, from Brooklyn, N.Y. was being held in custody and was facing charges of driving while intoxicated and causing great bodily harm.

In an email to parents Sunday, the school said it was “ happy to share that coaches were able to speak with all three students who remain in the hospital. They say they were heartened to hear the young men ask about their brothers on the team.”

Hockey director and varsity head coach Spencer Montgomery thanked the police and emergency crews who responded. ”They were timely, organized and put the health of our boys at the forefront,” he said.

A mass for the team will be held at the Church of the Holy Family at 3:30 p.m. The school said students will also be provided with counseling.

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