A driver spilled a drink on herself and then sideswiped a school bus, causing it to roll over Saturday while it was carrying an Indiana high school basketball team to a game, Indiana State Police said.
All 27 passengers aboard the bus — 21 students and six adults — were taken to area hospitals, State Police said, but none of their injuries were life-threatening. The school district said in a statement late Saturday that 20 students had been released as well as three coaches, the team trainer, a ball boy and the bus driver.
Freshman coach David Garrett is at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., in stable condition.
Griffith Public Schools will have counselors available to students and staff next week to help heal the emotional wounds. A community prayer service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at a local park.
The accident occurred at about 12:10 p.m. near the 230½ mile marker on I-65, when Dominique T. Small, 23, Terre Haute, lost the lid on her drink and spilled it on herself while driving a 2001 Kia southbound in the left lane.
“She attempted to grab the drink, losing control of her vehicle and causing her to side swipe a Griffith School bus that was travelling in the right lane,” according to a news release from the State Police. “The school bus after being hit went off the roadway to the west and rolled over.”
The bus, which was being driven by Andriana Wright, 54, of Griffith, was carrying the Griffith High School boys basketball team and staff to a state semistate game against Marion in Lafayette.
Everyone on the bus except for Garrett was taken to one of three local hospitals in Merrillville, Rensselaer or Kankakee, Ill.
Small and her passenger were taken to Franciscan Health Rensselaer with injuries that were not life-threatening.
“Our hearts are heavy today,” Griffith Public Schools Superintendent Pete Morikis said Saturday. “What began with excitement — as the fulfillment of a dream to play in the semistate tournament — has ended tragically. We are praying today for the members of our Griffith school family, who have been injured.
“I would like to thank the good Samaritan who stopped on his way to a funeral in Wisconsin to check on the condition of our team. Mark Kadowaki is a surgeon who was headed in the opposite direction and took the time to stop and help.”
Kadowaki told the Northwest Times that one person had to be extracted via emergency crew while the rest came off the bus without assistance. Kadowaki said he was en route to Wisconsin when he passed by the crash scene.
The crash backed up traffic for almost 10 miles and all lanes were reopened by 4 p.m., State Police said.
There was no mention of any charges in the crash.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association says on its Twitter account that the game between Griffith and Marion had been postponed. Officials said they’ll talk with Griffith High School administrators Sunday about a possible makeup date.
Per the Indiana High School Athletic Association: “The IHSAA will confer with Griffith HS administrators tomorrow about a possible makeup date & will communicate that when a decision is made.”
The other semistate scheduled at Lafayette Jeff between McCutcheon and Warsaw in Class 4A has been postponed until 7:30 p.m.
Griffith principal Brian Orkis: All 27 players, coaches, staff accounted for. Grateful, bc could've been worse. "We could be grieving."— Michael Osipoff (@MichaelOsipoff) March 19, 2016
Thankful for rapid response of state, local law enforcement to the @GriffithHigh bus crash. Sending prayers to the team, parents & community— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 19, 2016
Thank to all who have sent well wishes and prayers to the GHS family. Please continue to keep our school community in your thoughts.— Griffith High School (@GriffithHigh) March 19, 2016
We Stand By Griffith! pic.twitter.com/V0fo1FbrT9— McCutcheon Athletics (@mccutcheonmavs) March 19, 2016
Now getting reports that Griffith players are suffering some injuries. Extremely sad news. Some being transferred to hospital. #nwibb— Jon Ashenbaugh (@TheSweetch) March 19, 2016
Michael Osipoff of the Post-Tribune spoke with Griffith coach Gary Hayes, who provided updates on injured players.
Griffith coach Gary Hayes: "It's amazing nobody got killed. Amazing. Amazing."— Michael Osipoff (@MichaelOsipoff) March 19, 2016
Griffith coach Gary Hayes says Tremell Murphy (neck), Martin Schiele (leg) among handful taken to Merrillville. Wasn't sure of severity.— Michael Osipoff (@MichaelOsipoff) March 19, 2016
Griffith coach Gary Hayes was at Jasper, having suffered a cut on his head. "Everyone has something."— Michael Osipoff (@MichaelOsipoff) March 19, 2016
Gary Hayes: "Somebody hit us from the side. The bus driver tried to get us on route, and it looked like we might be able to swing it ..."— Michael Osipoff (@MichaelOsipoff) March 19, 2016
Gary Hayes: "... Then we took a second knock, we rolled once, then flipped into the ditch. The roof was halfway to the floor."— Michael Osipoff (@MichaelOsipoff) March 19, 2016
IndyStar sports content coach Matthew Glenesk and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow Journal and Courier reporter Sam King on Twitter: @samueltking.