SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Eyewitness News has the latest on the state police investigation into a bus crash on I-81 in Schuylkill County that sent more than two dozen people, many of them teenagers, to the hospital.
The bus company has issued a response to the crash.
This was a group of high school girls and volunteers with a church in Lancaster County, and they were returning from a retreat in New York. They chartered the bus from Premiere #1 Limousine Service out of Middletown, PA and 37-year-old Adam Wright was behind the wheel.
Troopers are trying to piece together why the bus left the highway.
Just before 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, a charter bus packed with 31 high school girls and their leaders from LCBC Church in Lancaster County was traveling south on I-81 through Schuylkill County when investigators say for some yet unknown reason, the bus veered off the interstate.
PSP Frackville say it happened near the Exit 112 ramp to Hegins. The bus went down the grass hill and across State Route 25 where it blew through the center guiderail. It then hit an embankment and traveled about 50 yards into a wooded area.
First responders could be heard saying: “When you get here get me ladders, get them in the bush here… There’s no way we’re going to be able to get in through the door of this bus right now. We still have multiple people on. I do have emergency personnel getting on to the truck right now to start assessing.”
The group was on their way home from a high school ministry retreat in Lake Champion, New York, just two hours from the crash site in Frailey Township. At the scene, Tremont Fire Chief Brian Eisanacher said 32 people including the bus driver were injured.
The bus driver, 37-year-old Adam Wright from Lancaster, was flown to the hospital, along with four of the passengers. PSP Frackville says troopers spoke with Wright at the hospital on Monday.
The bus company, Premiere #1 Limousine Service, released an official statement saying in part: “An investigation is ongoing, and we are participating fully with all agencies involved. As soon as we have more information, we will be able to answer additional questions, but the incident has just occurred and our main focus at this time is on Mr. Adam Wright, the LCBC family, and the Premiere #1 family.”
LCBC Church released another statement Monday afternoon, asking for “continued prayers for recovery for everyone involved and for the medical staff that are providing care.”
The bus was one of three returning from the retreat. According to the most recent update from the church: 18 of the 31 students and volunteer leaders have been released from the hospital.