Parents, community mourn after deadly bus accident

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An Indianapolis charter school and its small community are mourning Monday following a deadly school bus accident that killed two people.

Many parents rushed to the Indianapolis Lighthouse Charter School after news broke indicating bus 43 was involved in an accident on the east side.  The bus crashed into a bridge in the 900 block of S. Emerson Avenue at approximately 7:40 a.m.

The bus driver and a female student, who is approximately 5 or 6-years-old, were pronounced dead.  Two students are listed in critical condition and eight others sustained non-life threatening injuries.

Parents waited anxiously for information regarding their children and the accident.

“Yeah, that’s my only son, so I was going to take a chance [and] that’s why I decided to come here,” said concerned parent Carmen Tello.

Fox59 spoke with several parents at the school, waiting restlessly for their children and hopeful they would return safely.

“I was crying because I thought something happened to my son,” said parent Frederick Martin. “But he’s fine.”

Many parents rushed to the school to take their children home.  All students were dismissed for the day at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Mayor Greg Ballard visited the school Monday morning to lend support to worried parents and students.

“The mayor said with such a tightly-knit community, this is not easy,” said Tello.

“It’s difficult…I want them to know there’s a lot of support for them,” said Mayor Ballard.

Parents Fox59 spoke with many parents who said the only thing they can do is pray for those directly and indirectly involved in the accident.

“My grandson is one of those who had to go to the hospital,” said Beverly Watkins. “But they say he’s OK.  I’m just praying for God [to] have mercy on all of them, the children on the bus and driver.”

A prayer service is being held at the crash scene for those injured and killed in the crash.  It will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

“I am saddened by the tragic school bus accident this morning in Indianapolis that took the lives of one child and the bus driver. My heart goes out to the victims’ families and the Indy Lighthouse community. We have contacted school officials to offer every available resource and provide assistance in this difficult time.”

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