Driver dead in bus crash involving high schoolers

Dan Anderson/AP Photo

Officials said a bus carrying high school band students crashes in Alabama.

Posted: Mar 13, 2018 12:56 PM

The driver of a bus carrying Texas high school band students has died and several people are injured after the bus crashed down a steep embankment off the side of an Alabama interstate, authorities said.

At 5:33 a.m., the tour bus, which was headed west on Interstate 10 toward Houston, careened near the highway median and ended up in a 50-foot ravine, Lt. Joe Piggott of the Alabama Highway Patrol said in a statement.

Baldwin County Sheriff Mack said emergency units were dispatched to evacuate and extricate the passengers. Some were carried out by police deputies, others were brought to the surface by firefighters who rappeled down the ravine.

About 48 passengers were on the bus at the time of crash, authorities said.

The crash was “in the dark of night, and we are down in a ravine next to a creek," Mack said, so "it was a large scale effort.”

Dewayne Benson, 15, was on one of two buses traveling home from Walt Disney World, according to his sister, Sydney Benson.

“He was asleep until the band director started screaming," Sydney Benson, 19, told ABC News.

She said her brother called the family from a hospital in Pensacola, Florida, and does not seem to be injured.

Injured passengers were taken to hospitals in Baldwin County as well as Sacred Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, Piggott said.

First Class Tours, which owns the bus, identified the deceased driver as one of its employees, Harry Caligone.

"Harry was a long-time driver for our company and we are deeply saddened for this loss. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family," First Class Tours said in a statement.

"Our prayers are with the injured and their families at this time," the statement added. "We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation."

The students are from Channelview High School, said Mark Kramer, spokesman for the Channelview Independent School District.

"At this time, details are limited," Kramer said in a statement. "We are in contact with law enforcement in Alabama trying to obtain further information."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, "Please join Cecilia & me in prayer and support for the Channelview students harmed by this bus crash."

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are headed to the accident.

ABC News' Rachel Katz and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10230

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah248869
Marion164848
Washington158620
Clackamas84525
Umatilla7576
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Deschutes2190
Lane2183
Malheur2061
Polk15912
Linn1579
Jackson1490
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1330
Klamath1301
Morrow1021
Benton945
Hood River930
Wasco911
Josephine551
Clatsop510
Douglas500
Coos420
Columbia390
Lake210
Tillamook140
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00
Eugene
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 56°
Corvallis
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Roseburg
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 58°
North Bend
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 56°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events