Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

School bus may have run red light in fatal accident

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WADSWORTH, Ill. -- One person died and dozens of elementary school children were taken to hospitals Friday after a school bus crash in northern Illinois left two cars mangled and the bus on its side.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran Jr. says all 35 people aboard the bus survived the crash at about 8 a.m. in Wadsworth, 70 kilometres north of Chicago.

Curran said the bus driver, who may have run a red light, was speaking with investigators.

The coroner's office says a male died at the scene, but did not provide other details. An autopsy was to be conducted.

The bus lay on its side with the two wrecked cars nearby, including the remains of a yellow Jeep Wrangler, its front roll bar removed and the hood flattened and squashed into the two front seats.

Debris was scattered in adjacent farm fields.

"The bus... struck the vehicle, essentially close to a T-bone on the passenger section of the Jeep Wrangler," Curran said.

Sarah Toomey, a spokeswoman for Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, said 24 children were taken to the hospital and 13 had been released by midday.

Those who remained were with their parents. She said the 24 had "very minor injuries," including bruises, bumps and scrapes.

At Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan, spokesman John Griffin said one student there was in fair condition and five others were in good condition.

Most of the children climbed out of the bus through the back exit.

"Some of the kids were upbeat, jovial as if they just got off a ride at Great America," Lake County Sheriff Chief Brian Keller said. "Other kids were asking for their mother or father and wanted to go home."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 6, 2013 A29

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