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12 students hospitalized after semi strikes school bus in Owen County

OWEN COUNTY, Ind. – A dozen students were hospitalized Monday morning after a semi struck a school bus on US 231 in Owen County.

Indiana State Police say the semi slid across a center line near Dunn Road around 8 a.m., hit the front driver’s side of the Spencer-Owen School bus and then skid down the entire left side. As a result, the bus was pushed off the road and in the direction of a tree line.

Twelve of the 31 passengers were transported to area hospitals for treatment from glass cuts and complaints of pain to their head, chest and arms. Student passenger ages ranged from 7 to 17 years old. The remaining passengers were transported to their school and checked by a school nurse.

The driver of the semi, Christopher Lee Reinhardt, 35, was cited for driving left of center and driving too fast for road conditions.

The school bus driver, Verl Keith, 70, suffered hand and head injuries and was transported to IU Health Bloomington Hospital for treatment.

Emergency personnel want to praise Keith for his diligence and persistence as he fought to keep the heavily damaged bus upright and away from the trees.

“The school bus left the roadway completely and could have easily turned over. If that would have happened, this crash would have seen a lot more kids severely injured,” said Trooper William Brown.

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