Update, 4th vehicle involved. Story corrected and updated.
Update #2: More video added and some information added within the story. Scroll down.
Update #3: Initial report on cause and casualty information added. Scroll down.
TWO SCHOOL BUSES CARRYING A HIGH SCHOOL BAND were involved in a major wreck around 10:30 am Central time when one of them drove into the rear of a truck tractor cab and the other rear-ended the first bus. The buses are from the St. James School District located near Rolla, Missouri, about 100 miles SW of St. Louis. The accident happened on Interstate 44 near Gray Summit, Missouri.
It has just been confirmed that at least 2 people have died from their injuries, but no report if either of them were students. Reports are saying that 36 students have been transported with minor injuries.
CNN News has just posted this raw video from the scene:
One of the adults on the second bus stated that the first bus rear-ended a car, possibly a mini-van, driving it onto the tractor’s 5th-wheel. This image captured from the CNN video above shows what appears to be that 4th vehicle mashed between the bus and the truck. Update: The 4th vehicle is a pickup truck and the driver who was alone in it was one of the fatalities. Details in Update #3 below.
The students are all members of the St. James High School band are were on an annual trip to the 6-Flags amusement park which is just 10 miles farther down the highway.
KTVI-TV Ch.2 St. Louis filed this video report showing some of the rescue activity and includes an informative interview with one of the student’s mother:
One of the fatalities was a girl who was sitting in the last row of the first bus that was rear-ended by the other school bus.
Initial findings show that the truck tractor was slowing down because of construction-related congestion when he was struck from behind by the pickup truck. The lead school bus then rear-ended the pickup driving it onto the back of the tractor and sandwiching it between the two larger vehicles. The 19-yr.-old driver of the pickup was the other of the two fatalities.
Another St. James school district bus was dispatched to the hospital where the injured students were treated to pick them up. While en route, the brakes failed on the 3rd bus and it crashed into about 6 cars on an auto dealership lot. KPLR-TV covers it in this video report: