An assistant Indiana high school basketball coach was airlifted to a hospital Saturday after the team’s bus overturned when a vehicle sideswiped them.
The Griffith High School boys basketball team was traveling to a state playoff game in Lafayette when the accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. on Interstate-65 near DeMotte, authorities said. The driver of the vehicle spilled her drink and hit the bus causing it to rollover and land on its side with part of its roof smashed in.
“Several” players and coaches were injured in the accident, Superintendent Peter Morikis said. He said everyone on the bus was taken to one of three area hospitals. Indiana State Police Sgt. Ann Wojas sad none of the injuries were life-threatening.
Wojas added that there were 21 students and six adults on the bus.
Morikis said freshman coach David Garrett was airlifted to Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
“Our hearts are heavy today,” he said. “What began with excitement – as the fulfillment of a dream to play in the semi-state tournament – has ended tragically. We are praying today for the members of our Griffith school family, who have been injured.
Wojas said Dominique T. Small, 23, of Terre Haute, was southbound in the left lane when the lid of her drink came off and the drink spilled on her. Small tried to grab the drink but lost control of her 2001 Kia and sideswiped the bus, which was southbound in the right lane, Wojas said.
Small and a passenger in her car also were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Wojas said.
Mark Kadowaki, a surgeon from North Carolina who was traveling to Wisconsin, said he arrived on the scene shortly after the accident and found the bus “upside down.”
“There were still some people trapped in the bus,” Kadowaki told The Times. “One gentleman had to be extracted from the bus by the emergency crew. Everyone else was able to come out of the bus under their own power or with assistance.”
“It could have been a lot worse,” Griffith High School Assistant Principal Dustin Nelson said.
Athletic Director Stacy Adams said in an email to the Associated Press that emergency crews advised everyone on the bus to receive medical attention “for preventative measures.” Other buses that were carrying fans from the school were told to return, he said.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association said on its Twitter account that the team’s game against Marion has been postponed. Officials said they’ll talk with Griffith High School administrators Sunday about a possible makeup date.
Wojas said one southbound lane of Interstate 65 was open during the crash investigation, and traffic was backed up for almost 10 miles. All lanes reopened at 4 p.m.
Authorities said the investigation is ongoing and no one had been ticketed or charged as of Saturday evening.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.