WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - A bus crash on I-95 in Colleton County early Sunday morning injured 17 people on their way back to their North Carolina high school from a trip to Florida.
The accident happened at 1:04 a.m. Sunday at mile marker 68 on I-95, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Judd Jones. Jones said a 2017 Van Hool Bus went off the left side of the northbound lanes of the interstate, crashing through a cable barrier, then crossing the southbound lanes before coming to rest in an embankment.
The bus was chartered and was bringing 30 students and chaperones from the chorus of Beddingfield High School in Wilson, North Carolina. A second bus, carrying 32, was not involved in the crash, Colleton-Fire Rescue Chief Barry McRoy said.
Jones said EMS took 10 people to Colleton Medical Center, while McRoy put that number at 11. An additional six students were treated at the hospital after complaining of minor injuries, McRoy said.
"They were very fortunate," McRoy said. "There were two large trees near where the bus landed and if they'd gone just a few feet further over, they would have hit those trees head-on."
According to a Facebook post, a good Samaritan trucker stopped and offered paper towels to stop any bleeding.
The post also thanked Colleton County Fire Rescue and Colleton Medical Center.
"They opened up their cafeteria for us to sit, offered to cook us breakfast, and even contacted the local Band Director to meet us there. Walterboro, SC is a special place," the post states. "More than anything, we all thank the Lord above for watching over us last night. Knowing how bad it could have been, we were protected."
McRoy said the bus company sent another bus to take the students back to Wilson and by 6:30 a.m., most were on their way back to North Carolina except for the two patients who were admitted, the school's principal and a second adult who stayed behind.
At the time of the crash, the group was returning from a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, according to the Facebook post.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and no charges have been filed, Jones said.