BOONE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Twelve people, including five children, were sent to Indianapolis hospitals after a Lafayette School Corporation school bus flipped on Interstate 65. Administrators said seat belts on the special needs bus played a key role in keeping people safe.
"We had five students on the bus, special needs students, ages kindergarten to fourth grade," said Les Huddle, LSC Superintendent.
Huddle said those five young students from LSC and Tippecanoe School Corporation had minor injuries after the rollover bus crash thanks to seat belts.
"Because of their age, weight and bus regulations, and again because of some special needs, every student was in some type of seat belt," said Huddle.
Indiana State Police said it all happened around 2 p.m. Thursday near the Boone and Hendricks county border, just south of the I-865 split. Troopers said the bus driver, Audrey Kitchel, was heading north in the left lane when a box truck swerved into her lane. She went to swerve out of the way and ended up flipping in the median. The five students and seven adults, including a teacher, teacher's aides and parents on the bus, were taken to two Indianapolis hospitals.
Troopers said the driver of the box truck never stopped. But many other drivers did.
"It's something that shows how important kids are to people," ISP Sgt. Rich Meyers said. "The lanes were shut down because people had jumped out of their cars to make sure the school kids were alright."
"Our first information was from someone who just stopped to help and somehow contacted us," said Huddle.
Huddle said the bus was heading back to Mintonye Elementary School after a GLASS field trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. Huddle said a relative showed up for each of the 12 passengers at either IU Health Methodist or St. Vincent Hospital. Plus, there was a school administrator waiting for the families. He said everybody is very fortunate.
"If we can find any good news in this is, we had a major bus accident today but we had minor injuries," said Huddle.
I-65's southbound lanes were fully open by 4 p.m. after the scene had been cleared. Troopers said the Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division from ISP looked at the bus and no mechanical issues contributed to the crash.
Kitchel was not cited. As of late Thursday night, troopers have not identified nor located the box truck involved.
To see a list of adults who were riding on the bus when it crashed, click here .
As Purdue classes end for the semester, campus bar representatives and local law enforcement met to discuss what they noticed during the semester.
More than 45 kids got a special Christmas gift from the mayor of Lafayette.
Authorities make two arrests Monday night in connection with a counterfeiting case.