SALEM, Wis. --
Fourteen children were injured- two seriously- when a semi truck rear-ended a school bus in southern Wisconsin.Emergency crews set up a triage area near the scene at Highway 50 just west of Route 83. The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department said 16 people were hurt including the bus and truck drivers; 14 were children. The most seriously injured were transported by helicopters to Milwaukee Children's Hospital. Two children are in serious condition, according to officials
Kenosha County authorities say the bus was carrying 14 children at the time, ranging in age from 6 to 12 years old.
"The initial report is the driver may have been drinking something, a soda of some sort, and didn't notice the bus up there. So he struck the bus at what I'm going to believe right now is probably about highway speed, and this is just a guess on my part, but it appears that he wasn't slowing down prior to striking the bus. One of the kids that was stepping off the bus was actually ejected as the bus was hit from behind," said Sheriff David Beth.
The bus was spun around on impact and kids were thrown around inside the bus.
"As soon as the crash happened, smoke came in and we all kind of flipped around," said Edi Keung, bus passenger.
"My daughter called me on a cell phone saying, 'Mommy the bus crashed.' And I started screaming, 'Where are you? Where are you?' And it turns out they were right up the street," said mom Heather Keung.
Police have not filed charges against the driver of the truck. The driver say he was choking on a soda when the accident happened.
A secretary at Wheatland Center School, 6606 368th Ave. in Burlington, Wis., confirmed children from the school were onboard the bus, but did not have details. There were also children on the bus from private school St. Alphonsus.
Other school buses headed to the scene to take the uninjured students home, according to Lt. Paul Faldulto, Kenosha County Sheriff's Dept. .
Police said the bus was stopped and letting students out when the semi slammed into the back of it around 4 p.m.
"It appears that this was just normal-- taking the kids home at the end of the school day for a long holiday weekend," said Lt. Faldulto.
Parents hearing about the crash rushed to the scene. Those who need help coping with the situation should call the Juvenile Services at (262) 657-7188.
"That's any parents whose children were injured and they need any assistance whatsoever," said Lt. Faldulto.
Traffic was not moving in the area and motorists were encouraged to take other routes. The crash could interfere with roadways heading to Lake Geneva, Wis., a popular destination for Chicagoans.
"Right now I would suggest to these people they are heading out to Lake Geneva to take the Highway C off ramp rather than going all the way to 50. Take Highway C out to Highway W, take a right on Highway W and take Highway W to 50," said Lt. Faldulto.
The crash site is located near Salem in Kenosha County, Wis., near the Illinois border. It is about 60 miles from Chicago.