JASPER COUNTY, Ind. — A semi-truck driver from Atlanta has been preliminarily charged after police claim he left the scene of a Thursday evening accident in Jasper County that trapped a bus driver for several hours.
According to a news release from Indiana State Police, 57-year-old Aregay Tesfay Gebremariam was preliminarily charged with one count of leaving the scene of a crash involving catastrophic bodily injury, a Level 4 felony.
Around 11:15 p.m. Thursday, the Lowell Regional Dispatch Center received 911 calls of a crash involving a school bus and a semi-truck on I-65 northbound at the 222 mile marker, two miles north of the Fair Oaks exit.
The release said that a preliminary investigation showed that the bus driver rear-ended a semi-truck in the right lane. The semi initially pulled over and aid was rendered to both drivers, but officials said the semi “suddenly drove away.”
When officers arrived, they found that the driver was pinned in the vehicle, but was alert. The driver was the only person on the bus and it took several hours to extricate him from the vehicle.
Law enforcement officials were able to locate the semi-truck parked in the rear of a traffic stop in Jasper County. The release said the trailer had “substantial damage and it was quite apparent that the vehicle had been involved in a significant crash very recently.” The driver was also located and reportedly gave inconsistent statements about what happened on the interstate.
Officials said the bus driver was taken to a hospital in Chicago for treatment of potentially life-threatening injuries. Inspections of the bus and the semi-truck will be completed by the Indiana State Police’s commercial vehicle enforcement division. Officials stressed that alcohol/drugs are not suspected to be factors in the crash.