At least 17 people, including 15 Charlotte high school students, were injured Wednesday morning after a crash involving a school bus, a dump truck and another vehicle, officials said.
Photos shared with The Post show the front of the school bus mangled, with its windshield shattered. The dump truck is caved-in and unrecognizable after the crash, which occurred less than two miles from South Mecklenburg High School.
The driver of the dump truck, who has not been identified by authorities, suffered life-threatening injuries, according to Mecklenburg EMS.
“I can confirm that the driver of the dump truck, who took over an hour to extricate, was conscious and alert during transport, and we are optimistic regarding his outcome,” Nelson said.
The school bus driver, who also has not been publicly identified, had “less severe, but still potentially serious injuries,” Nelson said. It took the Charlotte Fire Department about 30 minutes to free the bus driver, who was pinned inside the vehicle, according to Mecklenburg EMS.
Both drivers were taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, according to authorities. No further information about their conditions was available Wednesday afternoon.
The occupants of the third vehicle were not taken to hospitals, officials said.
A spokesperson with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the district for South Mecklenburg High School, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The school bus crash in Charlotte is the latest involving children in recent months.
A school bus in Albuquerque was hit Feb. 23 by a street racer going over 110 mph, police said last month. Video showed children flying through the air when the Ford Mustang struck the bus. No one died in the crash, but two children suffered “serious injuries” that required surgery, according to police. The driver, identified by officials as 49-year-old Mario Perez, faces two felony counts of great bodily harm by vehicle.
More than a dozen children ages 5 to 10 suffered minor injuries in a school bus crash in New Castle, Del., on Monday. Investigators discovered that the driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck crested a hill and hit a Ford Expedition, sending the Ford into a school bus from Academia Antonia Alonso, according to the Associated Press. The driver of the Chevrolet was cited with a charge of inattentive driving.
Charlotte Fire Battalion Chief Michael Gerin told reporters Wednesday that first responders’ main problem was the “high impact” suffered by the school bus and the dump truck.
“We encountered some problems just in the sheer nature of the force, and the amount of metal that was around the driver(s),” Gerin said, according to the Charlotte Observer. He added that they were “extremely fortunate” to get both drivers out alive.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Police are not expecting to bring charges because it appeared to be an accident, according to WSOC.