A bus crash between a semi-truck and a school bus resulted in two deaths on Wednesday, December 5, 2018. The tragedy happened as the school bus drove on Interstate 74 between Bloomington and Downs, returning a girl's junior varsity basketball team to Normal from a game in the Champaign region. A semi-truck driving the wrong way crashed into the school bus, killing the semi-truck’s driver and an adult volunteer who was traveling with the basketball team. Two other men, also on the bus, were taken to the hospital.
Eight student-athletes from Normal West High School, who were traveling with their team, were also taken to the hospital. Their injuries were deemed not life-threatening. Early reports indicate there were 10 people on the bus at the time the bus and semi-truck crashed.
Bus Crash Attorneys with a History of Success
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Semi-Truck Driving on the Wrong Side of I-74
Illinois State Police issued a statement indicating the semi-truck was driving the wrong way in I-74’s westbound lanes at around 8:32 p.m. near mile marker 137. The semi-truck collided with the school bus head-on approximately 2 miles east of the Main Street exit in Bloomington.
Charles Crabtree, 72, of Normal, Illinois, died in the crash. A spokesperson for the school district said Crabtree volunteered at the school for years and was a former bus driver. The school’s principal remembered Crabtree as being a “very special person.” The bus driver and the basketball team’s coach were taken by helicopter to a hospital in Peoria. The coach, Steve Price, suffered multiple broken bones but is expected to make a full recovery.
Semi-truck driver Ryan E. Hute, 34, also died in the crash. The coroner determined Hute died of multiple blunt force injuries. Officials have not said why Hute was traveling on I-74 in the wrong direction.
The school bus driver was in critical condition.
Witness Describes Horrifying School Bus Crash
Lupe Guerrero was also driving a semi-truck in the area that night and told reporters he barely missed hitting Hute’s semi. Guerrero said he saw a semi-truck in front of him swerve first, then he saw a tractor-trailer approach him and had to swerve to avoid being hit.
“I was looking through my rearview mirror and saw when he hit the bus behind me,” Guerrero said. “It made a very loud, thunderous noise.”