In all, 21 children and 6 adults were involved in a brutal school bus accident. Now, even the officials investigating have been taken aback after realizing what caused the tragic scene.
The Griffith High School boys’ basketball team’s game was postponed after the bus carrying the Indiana state students flipped over on a Saturday morning. The bus, carrying twenty-one high schoolers and six adults, was run off the road and crashed in a ditch, where it laid crushed along Interstate 65 near Demotte, Indiana, in Jasper County. The reason it ended up ran off the road, however, is what’s truly troubling.
First, details of the Griffith High School bus accident from the survivors:
The twenty-seven passengers on the bus were on their way to a state semi-final game when the bus flipped into the ditch. Luckily, although the passengers were shaken up, they all miraculously lived to tell about it. “I had to cry,” student Grey Teamer recalled. “I just started crying. It was a scary thing for me. Something that I don’t want to witness again.”
In an interview following the incident, Martin Schiele, a point guard on the team, said the incident happened approximately 45 minutes into the trip and that people were “ricocheting off the bus” as the vehicle flipped, leaving them screaming in horror and disbelief.
While talking to a fellow teammate in the back of the bus, Schiele recalled that “the next thing you know, we started swaying from the left and then to the right. But, we were in the back, so we couldn’t see what was going on, on the road.” He added that he and his teammates “were kind of in shock. When we turned to the right, we started flipping into a ditch, and as we were flipping, bodies were ricocheting off the bus. It was just crazy.”
“So, when the bus finally settled down and stopped flipping, everybody was just screaming,” Schiele recalled, according to ABC News. “Objects were flying everywhere from the top to the bottom of the floor. All of the teammates started rushing out the emergency door to find a way out.”
Although the incident was a frightening experience for all, Schiele reported that the bus was only out of control for about 30 seconds and that it only took a couple minutes for everyone to leave the vehicle. “Once we got out — it was a grassy area — everyone panicked,” he recalled. “Our coach and assistant coach was making sure everyone was okay, and the players were walking around making sure everyone was okay.”
Everyone on board the bus was sent to the hospital for evaluation, but all injuries were reported to be non-life-threatening. “We are all sore but other than that no serious injuries,” player Anthony Quintero explained.
Not only are the team members grateful no one has suffered any serious injuries, the community was also invested in their well-being and recuperation. On the Sunday after the accident, hundreds of community members gathered to support and pray for those involved. “Seeing all these people here supporting us really makes us happy, makes us get back on [our] feet and give us the adrenaline to get started over again and bring back a state ring,” said Teamer.
By the following Wednesday, a school statement said that the boys are “ready to play ball.” Of the injured, freshman team coach David Garrett and bus driver Andriana Wright are the only ones who remain hospitalized, according to ABC 7.
“God performed a miracle for them; truly a miracle that nobody is deceased,” said Dawn Jones, a resident of Griffith, as she expressed her disbelief that no one was seriously hurt.
The cause of the tragic accident revealed:
Now, it’s the officials who are in disbelief after the cause of the terrible accident was discovered. According to Indystar, Indiana State Police have since determined that a woman sideswiped the school bus, causing the large vehicle to overturn after the 23-year-old motorist lost control of her car when she spilled a drink on herself.
The driver was later identified as Dominique T. Small. She lost the lid on her drink and spilled it on herself when she attempted to grab it while driving a 2001 Kia southbound in the left lane. Small and a passenger in her car were also taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Chicago Tribune reported.
“She attempted to grab the drink, losing control of her vehicle and causing her to sideswipe a Griffith School bus that was traveling in the right lane,” a news release from the State Police said. “The school bus, after being hit, went off the roadway to the west and rolled over.”
It’s easy to become rightfully furious and shame the driver for her carelessness. However, how often have we also become distracted by something while driving? Instead of blasting this young woman, let’s learn by her bad example. Yes, it’s frustrating to have a mishap with your drink in your car, but it can wait. Too often, people try to tend to an issue they should ignore until they’re safely pulled over. When we are driving, the road needs to have our full attention. Let this serve as a lesson. The next incident might not have the same miraculous ending. Thank God, no one was fatally injured.