published Sunday, June 26th, 2011

2 dozen hurt when Pa. school bus overturns on I-81

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A school bus transporting children to camp overturned on a rural Pennsylvania interstate Sunday afternoon, injuring about two dozen people and closing the northbound highway lanes for hours.

Pennsylvania State Police said the bus from Cumberland Valley Christian School in Chambersburg collided with a passenger vehicle on Interstate 81 at about 4:40 p.m. near Chambersburg.

All of the occupants of both vehicles were taken to nearby hospitals.

Summit Health spokeswoman Jessica Walter said 18 adults and children from ages 9 to 12 were taken to Chambersburg Hospital, and seven other patients were taken to Waynesboro Hospital.

All of them were reported to be in stable condition and there were no life-threatening injuries, Walter said.

Trooper Tom Pinkerton gave slightly conflicting numbers of victims, saying there were 16 children and six adults on the bus, and a lone driver in the other vehicle, a Cadillac.

He described the injuries as “minor to moderate.”

Pinkerton said it was too soon to know if any charges would be filed.

“However, preliminarily, the driver of the Cadillac is the person that contributed to this crash,” Pinkerton said.

He said the students had been traveling to Men-o-Lan Christian Camp in Quakertown, but the Chambersburg Public Opinion, citing a pastor associated with the school, said their destination was a church camp in Elizabethtown.

Pastor Mike Sanders of the Open Door Church in Chambersburg said injuries appeared to include some broken bones, bumps and bruises.

“I’m just thankful that the extent of the injuries is what it was,” Sanders told the newspaper.

Fire companies and ambulances from several stations responded and there were reports that other motorists helped remove passengers from the bus.

Vehicles on the heavily traveled interstate were detoured to the next exit, and Pinkerton said around 8:30 p.m. that it would probably be a few more hours until the northbound lanes reopened.

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