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School bus crashes into church on Mass Ave; 7 people taken to hospital

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Seven people were taken to area hospitals after a school bus crashed into a church near Mass Ave Tuesday afternoon.

The accident involving a Washington Township School bus from Greenbriar Elementary school happened around 1 p.m. at Robert Park Methodist Church located at Delaware and Vermont streets.

There were 37 people on the bus at the time of the crash. Five children were were taken to area hospitals along with two adults- a teacher and the bus driver. Officials said on scene a child may have broken bones, but the crash report later said all injuries were minor. The 35 children on board were between 9 and 10 years old.

No injuries were reported inside the church, which does house a day care.

Before the crash, the Indianapolis Musicians Local union camera caught the bus passing by. The crash can be heard in the video.

The children were on a field trip and had just come from visiting the Statehouse. They were on their way to the Benjamin Harrison Home when the crash happened.

The bus and tow truck collided in the intersection, and it is unclear at this time who had the green light. Several parked cars were damaged.

Roberts Park Methodist church senior pastor Reverend Andrew Scanlan-Holmes was among the first to respond to the crash and help the children inside the bus.

“ Our primary concern was really, get the building open, get them inside, get them warm, and offer whatever assistance and hospitality we can.  For most of them it was just a case of remaining calm and helping them to see that they were safe and that nothing else was going to happen to them," he said.

Holmes, nor anyone involved with the church witnessed the crash, but were alerted when the bus hit the building.

“ We all heard it, and it was a loud crunch and the building, not quite shook, but we knew there had been something significant,” he said.

Holmes said while the children were clearly shaken up, they, for the most part, were fairly calm, and followed the direction of those helping to get them out.

He, and other staff members then escorted the children into the church so they could be comforted and kept warm.

“We’re grateful that the situation wasn’t as bad as it could have been," Holmes said.

The bus' last inspection was on Feb. 1, 2018 and it had no violations. In 2012, the bus had a violation for excessive build-up.

Washington Township school officials issued this statement:

Today January 22, in the early afternoon two Washington Township buses from Greenbriar Elementary were on a fieldtrip. During the fieldtrip transportation, one of those buses was involved in an accident resulting in five students, one teacher, and one bus driver being transported to the hospital.

Superintendent Dr. Nikki Woodson thanks paramedics and emergency first responders for their quick response to this situation.  “All emergency personnel were swift to support students and staff, acting with care.”

The entire Washington Township crisis team was on site to lend support including Chief Clouse, Principal Alexander, Superintendent Woodson, and multiple transportation personnel.

As safety is our top priority, all Washington Township safety plans and protocols were followed.   The students did an excellent job following the directions of teachers and emergency personnel.

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