At least 16 junior varsity hockey players from Illinois were injured Saturday night in Warsaw, Indiana after an allegedly intoxicated semi-truck driver swerved into the team’s bus, knocking it onto its side.
Three of the injured high school students, who attend St. Ignatius College Prep, underwent surgery and were initially considered to be in critical condition, the school said in a statement. Warsaw is about 120 miles southwest from Chicago.
The Warsaw Police Department was notified of a tractor trailer swerving into other lanes and driving at excessive speed shortly after 8 p.m., according to a Sunday news release. Police were on their way to stop the truck when it struck the school bus in its rear.
Eyewitnesses and a surveillance camera showed the semi-truck driver ran a red light seconds before crashing into the bus as it was turning, police said. At least one of the students was ejected from the bus during the crash, Warsaw police added.
Police detected “a strong odor” of alcohol on the truck driver and said he was slurring and failed sobriety tests, the release said. The truck driver refused to consent to a chemical test, according to police.
The truck driver, a 58-year-old man from New York, remains in custody on a 48-hour hold as his blood sample were sent out for official testing. The driver faces felony charges pertaining to operating while intoxicated and causing serious bodily injury, according to police.
There were a total of 23 students, two coaches, and the driver on the rented school bus, police said, adding the students’ ages “range between 14 and 17 years old, with most children 15 years of age.”
“We will get through this together,” the Saint Ignatius Wolfpack Hockey Club said in the statement.
Saint Ignatius is a private Jesuit high school near Chicago whose JV hockey team was traveling across state lines for a weekend tournament in Culver. According to police, the team had dinner in Warsaw before heading to their hotel.