BOISE, Idaho – At least a dozen students were hospitalized after their school bus rolled over on a rural Idaho highway, police said.
Lincoln County Sheriff Rene Rodriguez said junior high students from Carey School were on their way to a track meet in Gooding when their bus crashed about 125 miles southeast of Boise on U.S. Highway 26.
The driver, 67-year-old Richard Mecham, drove off the right shoulder, overcorrected and rolled the 2011 school bus Tuesday, according to Idaho State Police.
A parent of one of the 39 students on the bus said her daughter remembered a hectic scene, with coaches yelling to get the driver’s attention before the vehicle flipped over.
“Students heard the coach yell at the driver ‘hey, hey, hey!’ right before the bus flipped,” Cindy Stocking of Carey told The Associated Press via text message.
Stocking immediately drove to the scene after getting a call from her 13-year-old daughter Hailee, even though the school discouraged parents from going to the site.
“I found her and we hugged like we never have before,” Stocking said, adding that Hailee had been in another rollover crash six months ago in a family car.
Five students were transported by air ambulance to hospitals and several more were taken by ambulance or private vehicles.
“None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening,” Rodriguez said.
Earlier reports said 17 students from Carey School had been taken to hospitals after the incident, some with serious injuries. Police said later Tuesday that 12 were taken to hospitals.
The three adults on the bus — two track coaches and a bus driver — were not sent to a hospital as reported earlier, police said. The driver sustained no injuries while the coaches were treated and released at the scene.
Details on the injuries weren’t released.
“We’re relieved that there were no life-threatening injuries to students and staff,” said Heather Crocker, spokesman for the Blaine County School District, adding that the district has sent staff to the hospitals.
Rodriguez said the rural area relies on volunteer emergency responders and many headed to the scene after receiving a text alert.
The crash remains under investigation.