Police seek clues to school bus crash

March 13, 2012 at 11:17 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS, March 13 (UPI) -- Police in Indianapolis were trying to find out what caused a school bus to crash into a pillar of a railroad overpass, killing a student and the driver.

Classes at Lighthouse Charter School resumed Tuesday with grief counselors available to help the school's students, parents and personnel address Monday's accident, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Lighthouse Principals Kelli Marshall and Ryan Gall said in a statement they were "deeply saddened by the injuries and loss of life."

Donasty Smith, 5, and Thomas Spencer II, 60, both of Indianapolis, were killed.

Paramedics took 10 other students, ages 6 to 15, to Indianapolis area hospitals, where two students were listed in critical condition.

Firefighters said many of the 50 students were trapped inside the bus after the accident.

Denitra Brady, parent of 6-year-old Arie Ruffin, said her daughter might not want to ride a bus again.

"She was a nervous wreck," Brady said. "She can't talk. She's scared to talk."

Spencer worked since 2010 for Miller Transportation Bus Services of Louisville, Ky., which owned and operated the bus, the Star said.

Phil Isenbarger, a lawyer retained by Miller, said the company will hire outside experts to conduct an independent investigation. Isenbarger said an attendant was on the bus and a camera recorded the children. He said Indianapolis police investigators have the video.

Danielle Bechert, 10, said Spencer was talking to the students just before the crash.

"He stopped talking, then wrecked into the bridge," Bechert said during a prayer vigil Monday near the crash site.

Students told the Star they liked Spencer.

"He was a really cool guy. He was a nice guy," said Dimitri Smith, 15, who missed the bus. "He wanted all of us to be safe, and he was a good bus driver."

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