School bus carrying Griffith, Ind., basketball team overturns

A school bus carrying members of the Griffith, Ind., boys basketball team headed to a state competition flipped over Saturday afternoon on Interstate 65 near Demotte, Ind., in Jasper County.

Twenty-one students and six adults were on the bus, according to Indiana State Police. All of the injuries were non-life threatening.

"The way that bus looked, there was an angel looking over these boys so, thank god," said Abe Martinez, a father of one of the players.

The bus overturned after being sideswiped by a 2001 Kia. The Kia driver, a 23-year-old Terra Haute, Ind., woman told police that she had spilled a drink on herself, causing her to lose control of her vehicle shortly after noon. She and her passenger were also hospitalized.

Players, coaches, managers and an athletic trainer from the Griffith High School boys basketball team were on the bus, headed to Lafayette to play against Marian High School in the Indiana state AAA semifinals basketball game. The game was scheduled for 3 p.m.

Player Marcus Marsenic, who was on the bus, said the crash was shock.

""I saw it all happening and I just yelled out 'brace yourselves' to the whole team," he said. "I looked at us swerving. Once we started going over, I just closed my eyes. A couple seconds later we were in the ditch."

Those who live nearby heard the crash and rushed in to help.

Neighbor Darren Kralik said he saw kids jumping out from the back door and coming out the side windows. Cody Tippit said the students were scared and freaking out.

A school bus from Kankakee Valley School Corporation and ambulances took most of the bus passengers to Franciscan Jasper County Hospital in Rensselaer. One of the coaches was flown to the University of Chicago in Illinois with non-life threatening injuries. Two people, the bus driver and coach, were taken to Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee. Four of the injured were taken to Methodist Hospital's Southlake campus in Merrillville, where they are all in stable condition. Two of the patients were age 18, and the others were age 8 and 28, a hospital spokesperson said.

The crash closed expressway for about four hours, causing back-ups for almost 10 miles.

On Sunday, the school plans to hold a community prayer at 2 p.m. at Central Park, 600 N. Broad St., Griffith.

Athletic association officials plan to meet with the school to reschedule the game.

Marsenic is hoping he and his teammates will be back on the court soon to finish out the season.

"We have to stay strong," he said. "We are a team. Nothing knock us down."

A school bus carrying members of the Griffith, Indiana boys basketball team overturned on I-65 near Lowell, Indiana Saturday afternoon.


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