CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Backpacks covered in glass were left behind as Clinton Prairie students evacuated their school bus that was on its side.
"It's a very sad thing when I see it," Lieutenant Joe Mink with Clinton County Sheriff's Office said about seeing the school bus on its side. "It's tough to see that and probably a third of these kids or more I know because I've had them in class, so it's kind of tough when you get that kind of a call."
Mink said it happened just before 8 a.m. Friday. Deputies said the bus, driven by a replacement driver, was heading East on Colfax Manson Road. The bus driver lost control of the vehicle and the bus rolled one and 1/4 times, landing on its side in the field.
Mink said students evacuated the bus through the back door.
"It was opened by a student," Mink said. "They evacuated out the proper way. Of course, when we practice these drills everything is on its wheels, so this is kind of an unusual event."
Mink said because students go through emergency training three times a year, they were able to get everyone out of the bus safely.
"Here is a typical example where the bus evacuation worked. Students were able to get off the bus in a safe manner and help individuals on the bus before emergency personnel arrived. It was textbook," Mink said about the students' evacuation plan.
Of the 27 students on board, 23 were taken by another bus to St. Vincent Frankfort hospital. Four students were taken away in ambulances. Three went to St. Vincent Hospital and one student went to IU Health Arnett in Lafayette.
Clinton Prairie Superintendent Chris Sampson said he can't said if installing seatbelts on buses is a good thing or not. He said in this case seatbelts may have made evacuating the bus much more difficult.
"The bus is on its side, and half of our kids would have been suspended in air if they were strapped in. And again, with the ages of kids, from kindergarten to sophomore in high school, they wouldn't have been able to get them out of those seatbelts and harnesses in that situation when the bus is on its side," Sampson said.
Sampson said one student did suffer a broken arm, but all other injuries were just minor bumps and bruises.
All students have been released from the hospital.
In regard to the replacement bus driver, Sampson said she has been driving for one year and has passed all training required to become a bus driver.
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