MASCOUTAH, IL (KTVI) - A head-on collision Tuesday near Mascoutah involving a school bus and a box truck sent nine people to the hospital, including eight children.
Illinois State Police said the crash happened after the bus driver became distracted from some sort of altercation involving kids on the bus. This all took place just before 8 a.m. on Highway 161 outside of Mascoutah.
The Mascoutah school bus was east on 161 while a box truck was west on the highway. Illinois State Police said there was a confrontation on the bus between students that distracted the 74-year-old bus driver. At that point, the bus drifted into the other lane of the two-lane road and collided with the box truck.
The box truck driver, a 47-year-old man, suffered serious injuries. Authorities said one of his arms was badly injured.
"The driver of the school bus swerved. He pulled over to the right as far as he possibly could—next to a guardrail—that’s when the driver of the school bus hit the truck head-on, causing serious injuries to the 47-year-old driver of the delivery truck,” said Trooper Calvin Dye Jr., Illinois State Police.
“It was severe he was bleeding excessively and that’s why he was transported by air and not the ground."
Eight middle school students were taken to hospitals as a precaution. Officials said their injuries didn't appear to be serious.
Fox 2/KPLR 11 asked the superintendent if he has questions about the action of the school bus driver. He said he'll look into those actions, but said the man is an experienced driver with a clean driving record. The bus driver has been put on leave for the time being.