Du Quoin, Ill. – Update, Nov. 11 – The four students involved in Thursday’s bus accident have returned home from the hospital.
St. Bruno School Superintendent John Smith confirmed the news to WSIL on Saturday morning.
“We have been overwhelmed with support and calls from the entire southern Illinois region,” Smith said. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, thoughts and prayers.”
Smith also confirmed that the school provided counselors for the children over the weekend. He said they will remain at the school as long as they see fit to help the students during this difficult time.
ORIGINAL STORY, NOVEMBER 9 – Crews were on the scene near Du Quoin where a school bus reportedly collided with a semi-truck.
Emergency crews were at the scene along Route 51 north of Du Quoin on Kimmel Road. Close to Sunfield Baptist Church.
The Du Quoin Police Department said the road will be closed for an extended period due to the major road accident. They also said drivers should look for alternative routes until the road reopens.
The Illinois State Police Department said it happened at 3:10 p.m. ISP Troop 10 units responded to the bus accident.
In a recent update, the ISP said the bus driver and four students were taken to area hospitals with injuries. This was downplayed by the five students being infected in a previous statement from the ISP.
They also reported that 11 other students on the bus were unharmed. There was one bus driver and 15 students on board.
Illinois State Police said a tractor-trailer (semi-truck) with a flatbed trailer was stopped on southbound US-51 and waiting to turn east onto Kimmel Road.
The ISP then said, “For an unknown reason, the school bus failed to avoid the TTST, and the front driver side of the school bus collided with the rear passenger side of the flatbed trailer.”
The driver of the 2002 Chevrolet school bus has been identified as Dennis E. Shmonick, 52, of Du Bois, Illinois. The driver of the 2014 International Paystar (TTST) Driver has been identified as Isaac F. Baez Valerio, 52, of Orlando, Florida.
A representative of St. Bruno Catholic School in Pinckneyville said it was their bus that was involved in the accident.
The actor said they are still getting children off the bus and some are being airlifted.
“Everyone please take a minute to pray for the family of the St. Bruno Falcon. And for those involved in the wreck and their families,” St. Bruno Catholic School said on Facebook.
The ISP said all the children had been accounted for and reunited with their guardians.