Four school buses were carrying more than 100 kids from the North Suburban YMCA Summer Camp in Northbrook on a field trip to Independence Grove Forest Preserve when the crash occurred, said YMCA's president and CEO Howard Schultz.
When the buses slowed for traffic in front of them, a semi-truck behind them was unable to stop in time and hit one of the buses, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. This caused a chain reaction crash, leading three of the four school buses to run into each other.
The crash occurred just before 11 a.m. in unincorporated Libertyville, near Route 137 and River Road.
The sheriff's office said the 17 people transported to area hospitals had non-life-threatening injuries. Parents were notified of the incident and residents were asked to stay away from the area.
The buses carried children ranging in age from 5-14 years old, sheriff's officials said. There were a total of 144 campers and camp counselors on board the three buses.
"My daughter is, understandably, pretty nervous," said Scott Abbott, a parent. "I mean, she said she got her head hit and you worry about a concussion these days."
Schultz, who leads the North Surburban YMCA, said nothing like this has ever happened in the camp's 50-year history. He said the camp is offering grief counseling.
Schultz said the organization vetted the bus company, Alltown Bus Service Inc., and has used them in previous summers.
Late Thursday afternoon, Alltown Bus Service owner Greg Polan told ABC 7 his team was in touch with the YMCA's director and said "thank goodness" there weren't any known serious injuries.
When asked about the bus drivers' qualification, Polan said they're "good... well trained."
The Lake County Sheriff's Office said the truck involved in the collision is from a company called Dylan Jr. based in Elgin. ABC 7 wasn't immediately able to find contact information for that company from either the sheriff's office or an online search.
No citations have been issued yet, but are likely for the driver of the truck, the sheriff's office said. Driving under the influence is not suspected in the crash, according to authorities.
Unincorporated Libertyville Crash Update:— Lake County Sheriff (@LakeCoILSheriff) August 1, 2019
Approximately 17 transported to area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Approximately 70 evaluated by paramedics. More info to come.
Crash Update (no critical injuries):— Lake County Sheriff (@LakeCoILSheriff) August 1, 2019
Incident involves students from North Suburban YMCA Summer Camp (Northbrook)
PARENTS: DO NOT COME TO THE SCENE, arrangements being made to bring students back to camp. Call 847-272-7250 for more info. pic.twitter.com/5ebqp35W3H
Avoid Rt 137 and River Rd, unincorporated Libertyville for a traffic crash involving two school buses, with injuries . No critical injuries. Deputies and Paramedics on scene. pic.twitter.com/w3EciwqSIM— Lake County Sheriff (@LakeCoILSheriff) August 1, 2019