Girls Basketball Team Bus Hit Head-on By Truck Going Wrong Direction on Highway

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[File photo] A school bus on May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Two people were killed after a school bus carrying a girls high school basketball team crashed into a truck.

The Normal Community West High School girls junior varsity team from Normal, Illinois, was on its way back from a game in Champaign when it collided with a truck that was traveling the wrong way.

The semitrailer smashed head-first into the bus on Interstate 74 near Downs, Illinois, approximately 140 miles south-west of Chicago. The accident happened at around 8:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.

According to McLean County Police officials, the truck was travelling east in the westbound lanes when it hit the bus.

Police added Charlie Crabtree, a 72-year-old volunteer for the Norman West High School squad died in the crash.

Illinois State Police said the unidentified victim was a 34-year-old from Iowa. It added the crash was under investigation and it did not yet know why the truck was traveling the wrong way at the time of the crash.

The Peoria Journal Star reported that eight of the 11 students that were on the bus were taken to local hospitals with injuries considered to be not life-threatening.

Four students were taken to  OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington , while others were taken to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal.

In a statement on its Facebook page, McClean County Unit 5 school district said it was devastated by news of Crabtree’s death.

“Three other adults, including two from the bus, were life flighted to Peoria and their condition is unknown,” it said.

“The students are being treated for non-life threatening injuries. Please keep the Crabtree family and the entire Normal West Community in your thoughts. ”

The truck driver, who remains unidentified as yet, also died after being flown to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria , 50 miles east of the crash site.

Videos of the aftermath of the crash circulating on Facebook show part of the bus’s front almost sheared off, while the trailer of the semi close by. Dozens of fire and rescue vehicles made their way to the crash site and according to Bloomington-based The Pantagraph, three helicopters were sent to the area.

Shortly after the crash, the Illinois Department of Transportation confirmed that a “major traffic incident” had occurred on Interstate 74 westbound, adding that traffic was being diverted and that motorists could face significant delays.

A long stretch of Interstate 74 westbound remained closed on Thursday morning as police continued to gather evidence.

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