It was not the celebration planned, but a northwest Indiana community was grateful on Saturday that all 27 people on board a school bus carrying a high school basketball team survived a crash that left the bus upside down in a ditch with part of its roof smashed in.
The bus carrying the Griffith High School boys basketball team to a state tournament semi-final game rolled over after a woman driver who had spilled her drink sideswiped the bus on Interstate 65.
Griffith High School Superintendent Peter Morikis said freshman boys basketball coach David Garrett was in stable condition at a Chicago suburban hospital. All 20 of the students had been treated and released as well as three coaches, the team trainer, a ball boy and the bus driver.
"When I saw pictures of the bus, my heart sank," Griffith Schools Superintendent Peter Morikis said in a statement. "We are grateful tonight that, despite a multitude of bumps, bruises, gashes and scrapes, every person involved in the crash has survived."
Dominique T. Small, 23, of Terre Haute, Indiana, was southbound in the left lane when the lid of her drink came off and spilled on her. Small tried to grab the drink but lost control of her 2001 Kia and sideswiped the bus, which was southbound in the right lane, said State Police Sgt. Ann Wojas.
Small and a passenger in her car also were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Wojas said.
Mark Kadowaki, a surgeon from North Carolina who was traveling to Wisconsin, said he arrived on the scene shortly after the accident and found the bus "upside down."
"There were still some people trapped in the bus," Kadowaki told The Times. "One gentleman had to be extracted from the bus by the emergency crew. Everyone else was able to come out of the bus under their own power or with assistance."
The Indiana High School Athletic Association said on its Twitter account that the team's game against Marion was postponed. Officials said they'll talk with Griffith High School administrators Sunday about a possible makeup date.
Authorities said the investigation is ongoing and no one had been ticketed or charged as of Saturday evening.
Griffith Public Schools will have counselors available to students and staff next week to help heal the emotional wounds.
A prayer service was scheduled for Sunday at a local park in the community of about 16,500 people.