Three dead in double school bus crash in Knoxville, police confirm two students and a school bus aide were killed when the two buses collided.
Some of the 20 people who were hurt have been taken to UT Medical Center, others have been taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.[fwdevp preset_id=”8″ video_path=”_e9VZIXx5dg”]
The two school buses were from Chilhowee Intermediate School and Sunnyview Primary School and crashed with “a big bang” in East Knoxville, closing westbound lanes of Asheville Highway until at least midnight.
Federal officials of the National Transportation Safety Board were “actively monitoring” the crash and talking to officials to decide whether to send inspectors, spokesman Eric Weiss said.
Relatives of at least one dead student learned of the death at the scene from Police Chief David Rausch, to screams and tears.
Three patients were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Susan Wyatt said. Nineteen students were taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital — 18 by city bus and two by private vehicle, hospital officials said. All their injuries were described as “non-life-threatening.”
Students not hurt were being reunited with their parents at the crash scene.
Emergency personnel responded at 2:56 p.m. to a crash involving buses 57 and 44, both with children aboard, at the intersection of Asheville Highway and Gov. John Sevier Highway.
One of the buses was on its side, first responders reported. More than a dozen parents were at the scene of the crash, seeking word of their children.
Counselors are at the scene and will be at the schools Wednesday, Knox County Schools spokeswoman Amanda Johnson said.
People ran to the accident site to help children off the buses, according to Karla Corona, a parts sales manager at the AutoZone near the accident.
“I heard the big bang,” Corona said. “As soon as I rang up the customer, we saw that a bus had flipped over and another was in the middle of the road.
“I saw people running toward the bus. I saw all the kids being rushed off the bus. Firefighters were the first to show up, and two or three cop cars. People actually got out of their cars and ran to help.
“It was all very emotional. God, it was scary. I sure hope all the kids are OK.”
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said all lanes of westbound Asheville Highway are blocked and will be closed for several hours.
Parents seeking information on their children can call 865-541-8109.