The school bus flipped over after a semi-truck hit it from behind while running a red light on an Indiana highway Saturday night. Credit: Provided/Warsaw Police Department

LITTLE ITALY — Sixteen St. Ignatius College Prep students were hurt Saturday night when a truck driver suspected of drunken driving crashed into their school bus en route to a hockey tournament in Indiana, causing it to flip over, police said.

The three most severely injured students from the JV hockey team remained hospitalized Sunday after initially being listed in critical condition. Their conditions improved and they were able to speak with coaches, the school said.

“They say they were heartened to hear the young men ask about their brothers on the team,” officials with the prestigious Catholic school in Little Italy said in a statement.

“We are thankful and grateful for the hockey community, and looking forward to better days ahead,” hockey director and varsity head coach Spencer Montgomery said. “Please keep our boys in your thoughts.”  

Around 8 p.m. Saturday, police were warned that a semi-truck driver was swerving lanes and excessively speeding on a highway in Warsaw, Indiana, Warsaw Police Captain Brad Kellar said.

As officers were on their way, the truck ran a red light and struck the back of the hockey team’s school bus, knocking the bus onto its side, Kellar said. The truck driver continued driving off the roadway and came to a stop in a nearby ditch, Kellar said. 

The truck came to a stop in a nearby ditch after the crash. Credit: Provided//Warsaw Police Department

Officers on the scene approached the truck driver, identified as Victor Santos, and smelled alcohol and noticed he was slurring his speech, Kellar said. The 58-year-old, of New York, was arrested after failing sobriety tests at the scene, Kellar said. 

Police are waiting on test results to determine if he was driving under the influence, Kellar said. 

There were 23 students, two adult coaches and the bus driver on the school bus, Kellar said. They were traveling to participate in a weekend hockey tournament at Culver Military Academy in Indiana. 

At least one student was ejected from the bus because of the force of the crash, Kellar said. 

Of the sixteen injured students, ranging from 14 to 17 years old, all but three have been released from the hospital as of Sunday, Kellar said.

There will be a 3:30 p.m. Monday mass for the students at Church of the Holy Family, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road, school officials said.

“Our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers remain with our courageous student-athletes, coaches and families of our JV Hockey Team after last night’s accident,” Saint Ignatius Athletic Director Mike Hurley said in a statement. “Our care and support extend to our entire school community during this time. We very much appreciate all of the loving messages and well wishes we have received for all of those affected.”

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: