CHICAGO (CBS) — A ride home from the Bulls game ended with several children injured after their bus went off the Indiana Toll Road. Police said the 82-year-old driver was arrested for driving under the influence.
A coach on the bus described what happened late Monday night as two minutes of chaos.
A group of more than 40 kids with the Gary-based Above The Rim Youth Sports Foundation attended the Bulls game at the United Center and even got a chance to be on the court at halftime.
Indiana State Police said while they were headed home, going east on the Indiana Toll Road, one of the chaperones on their bus noticed something was wrong with the driver.
One of the coaches on the bus said he woke up just before the crash and saw the bus veering off the road.
“I got up, and I kind of grabbed the bus driver. And I told him, I was screaming in his face, ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’” Jason Rhodes said in a phone interview.
The bus, owned by Jesus Saves Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, went off the pavement and onto a gravel embankment between two guard rails on the center median just before the Cline Avenue exit. The front tires ended up completely off the ground.
Everyone on the bus was tossed from their seats.
Akeesha Daniels was waiting to pick up her 15-year-old son at the Village Shopping Center in Gary when she got a call about the crash.
“My son was actually FaceTiming me outside the bus, and I said, ‘Xavier, where are you?’ He was like, ‘Oh, the bus was in a crash,’ and I’m looking like, ‘A crash where?’” Daniels said. “I was like, oh my God, if this bus would have went, if he would have been going a little faster, the bus would have ended up in the water.”
One adult and four children were taken to hospitals after the crash to be treated for leg injuries, and head and neck pain.
Police said the bus driver, 82-year-old Wilton Carr, was arrested, and taken to the Lake County Jail on four counts of operating while intoxicated.
Rhodes said Above The Rim rented the bus from Jesus Saves Missionary Baptist Church, and the bus and driver came together.
Parents said they are thankful no one was seriously injured.
“That’s all I kept saying to myself when it said on the side of that bus ‘Jesus Saves.’ Oh, Jesus saved everybody,” Dianna Darden said.
The church has not responded to phone calls and emails asking for a comment on the crash.