Bus crashes into church near Mass Ave


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — First responders are on scene after a bus crashed into a church near Massachusetts Avenue.

A Washington Township Schools bus traveling north on North Delaware Street crashed into Roberts Park United Methodist Church at East Vermont Street about 12:45 p.m., the Indianapolis Fire Department said.

A Stranded Co. tow truck and two other unoccupied, parked car also were involved, the fire department said. The tow truck and the bus collided in the intersection, then the bus struck the building and the tow truck hit the parked cars.

Police told News 8’s Tim McNicholas that both drivers said the other one ran a red light. 

A total of 37 people were on the bus. Both adults – the a 45-year-old woman driver and a 25-year-old schoolteacher – who were on the bus as well as five children, approximately ages 9 and 10, were taken to a hospital. One child may have a broken bone, but most of the injuries were considered minor. The two adults were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in good condition, the fire department said. The five children were taken to Riley Children’s Health.

The tow truck driver, a 65-year-old man, was taken to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital. 

School officials said the students were on a field trip. The Greenbriar Elementary students were traveling from the Statehouse to the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, the fire department said.

Rita Reith of the fire department issued this account of the crash:

The bus and the tow truck collided in the intersection at Vermont and Delaware.  It is unclear who had the green light. IMPD (Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department) investigating.  Upon impacting the truck – the bus travelled up onto the grassy area of the church and struck the building.  Minor damage was done to the limestone building.  The portion of the building that got hit was the outside wall to the restroom inside which there was one church employee. She heard the hit but was not injured.  The church houses a daycare as well but the daycare is located on the opposite side of the building.  Upon impact with the bus, the tow truck was pushed north on Delaware where it rear-ended a total of 2 parked cars and a box truck.  No one was in the vehicles at the time.

A WISH-TV viewer shared this surveillance video with News 8’s Tim McNicholas. In the video, you can hear the moment of impact.

Ellen Rogers, community relations coordinator for Washington Township Schools, shared this statement from the district:

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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