Friday, October 19, 2018
Education

Driver killed, Texas students hurt in Disney trip bus plunge

LOXLEY, Ala. ó A bus carrying Texas high school band members home from Disney World plunged into a ravine before dawn Tuesday in Alabama, killing the driver and injuring many passengers, authorities said.

First responders used ropes to rappel down the 50-foot ravine in the middle of Interstate 10 to reach them, and then had to cut some of the victims free from the wreckage, said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack, who confirmed the fatality.

About 45 people were on board, and were brought to 10 hospitals in Alabama and Florida, either by helicopter or ambulance, he said.

The person killed was the driver of the bus, said Capt. John Malone, who commands state troopers in the Mobile district.

READ MORE: Doctors find air pocket where part of manís brain should be

The sheriff said it wasnít immediately clear what caused the bus to enter the grassy median, which abruptly ends at a steep embankment where the interstate passes over Cowpen Creek. The crash happened at about 5:30 a.m., crunching the bus and leaving the passengers exposed to chilly temperatures.

Rescuers used every piece of equipment on every truck to reach them, Mack said: "This is what we call an all-out."

Jesus Tejeda came upon the scene as he drove to work, finding dozens of police cars and ambulances stopped on the highway near the overpass. He said he looked down to see the bus lying on its side near the base of a concrete embankment, its front end crumpled.

He said he watched four people being removed from the wreckage, and couldnít hear any yelling or sounds of panic. "Thank God they were alive but (they) had to take them on (a) helicopter," he said in an interview conducted by instant messages.

The interstate was closed down in both directions as the injured were flown to hospitals including emergency rooms in Mobile and Pensacola, Florida, plus a free-standing emergency room in rural Baldwin County, said Chris Elliott, a Baldwin County commissioner who helped out at the county emergency management center following the crash.

"Everybody is being transferred to a hospital to at least be checked out," said Elliott.

A second bus on the spring break trip, driving ahead of the one that crashed, is continuing on to Texas, the sheriff said.

Only hours before the crash, the bandís Facebook page had been updated to show a large group posing outside Disney World.

Channelview Independent School District spokesman Mark Kramer confirmed that the charter bus was carrying Channelview High School band members. Kramerís statement said the district had only limited details in the immediate aftermath and was in contact with law enforcement in Alabama to get more information.

The bus charter company, First Class Tours of Houston, pledged to help local authorities investigating the crash in a statement that offered prayers for injured and their families.

     
     
Comments
Pinellas education news: Science festival, safe bus drivers, school choice and more

Pinellas education news: Science festival, safe bus drivers, school choice and more

Thousands expected for science festival, MarineQuestTwo big events — the St. Petersburg Science Festival and MarineQuest — will again be held together along the Bayboro Harbor waterfront Saturday, offering what organizers describe as &#...
Published: 10/19/18
Israel's Supreme Court overturns deportation of Florida student

Israel's Supreme Court overturns deportation of Florida student

Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday overturned an appeals court ruling that agreed with the government's decision to bar an American graduate student from entering the country over her alleged involvem
Published: 10/18/18
Sunday Conversation: Pepin Academies executive director Jeff Skowronek

Sunday Conversation: Pepin Academies executive director Jeff Skowronek

The former Pepin board chair and University of Tampa professor is filling the void left by the tragic death of former executive director Craig Butz.
Published: 10/18/18

Crowded classrooms prompt class-size concerns

Teachers and students raise concerns about the district's use of school-wide averages for class size calculation. Plus other news from the district.
Published: 10/18/18
Goliath candidate for state Senate takes first-time opponent seriously

Goliath candidate for state Senate takes first-time opponent seriously

Sen. Wilton Simpson scheduled to become state Senate president in 2020
Published: 10/18/18
Can new family resource center reshape struggling Hernando County school?

Can new family resource center reshape struggling Hernando County school?

State Schools of Hope grant provides after-school and evening classes and services to help students and their families.
Updated: 12 hours ago

School notes for Oct. 19

School calendar, events, briefs
Published: 10/15/18
How many active shooter drills is too many? Florida schools donít know either.

How many active shooter drills is too many? Florida schools donít know either.

As Florida educators work to make schools less vulnerable to attack, a single line in state law is making that job more confusing.The wording, drafted by legislators in the emotion-filled weeks after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas H...
Published: 10/12/18
MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur hosting live panel with USF students during 'Battleground College Tour'

MSNBC's Katy Tur will speak to USF students during a live panel in front of USF's Marshall Student Center on Friday from 2 to 3 p.m.
Published: 10/12/18
Pinellas education news: Financial aid, school choice, USF homecoming and more

Pinellas education news: Financial aid, school choice, USF homecoming and more

SPC invites families to learn about college financial aidSt. Petersburg College will host an event to acquaint parents and students with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, a required form for families seeking financial aid for co...
Published: 10/12/18