Livingston County bus crash: Injuries to students, adults much worse than anticipated

Bus tips over on way home from Chicago field trip

HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Some of the injuries to 10 students and six adults are much worse than first anticipated after a bus full of middle school children tipped over in the rain on the way home to Livingston County from Chicago, according to officials.

It looked as if everyone got out with little more than frayed nerves, but officials announced Monday that's not the case.

Hartland Middle School had two buses filled with 42 band and choir members, plus chaperones, teachers and a couple of bus drivers. They were at the Burkhart exit at M-59, 24 miles from their destination, when one of the buses tipped over on its side.

The muddy tire tracks on the side of the off ramp are all that remains of what was no doubt a harrowing and emotional scene.

The Livingston County Sheriff's Office reported just before 11 p.m. Saturday that, somehow, the driver in one of the buses wound up off the asphalt on the swooping turn, and the charter tipped over, sliding sideways down the hill. Everyone inside and the contents landed on one side of the bus.

Stunned passengers did their best to stay calm, but there were injuries. Ten students and six adults were sent to nearby hospitals.

The rest of the group went to a nearby fire hall to reunite with family members.

First reports said everyone walked away without life-threatening injuries. Now, officials believe the injuries are considerably more severe.

The Sheriff's Office now reports at least one broken neck, broken ribs, a broken hand and a collapsed lung.

Local 4 has learned a mother and chaperone is at the University of Michigan Hospital with severe back injuries. She needs surgery, officials said.

Officials with the Sheriff's Office said they have custody of the charter bus for their investigation. Detectives don't believe drugs or alcohol were factors in the incident. They are looking into whether to charge the driver.

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