Police arrested a man suspected of being a drunk driver after a tractor trailer ran a red light Saturday in northern Indiana and crashed into a school bus carrying an out-of-state high school hockey team, knocking it onto its side and injuring more than a dozen people on board, authorities said.
Victor Santos, 58, of Brooklyn, New York, crashed the New Jersey-registered tractor trailer into the right rear side of the school bus just after 8 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of U.S. 30 and Center Street, where the bus was making a turn, officials said.
The bus flipped onto its side, ejecting at least one student, while the tractor trailer careened into a ditch off the freeway an eighth of a mile from the crash site, police said.
The bus was carrying a high school hockey team from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, who were visiting for a tournament in the town of Culver, about 32 miles west of Warsaw, and heading back to their hotel from dinner, police said.
Sixteen of the 26 people on board — 23 students, two coaches and the bus driver — were injured, authorities said. Three students were initially classified as having critical injuries and sent to hospitals, police said.
All 16 victims were stable Sunday afternoon, said Brad Kellar, a Warsaw police spokesman.
The school posted a message to its Instagram page Sunday thanking well-wishers for their "thoughts and prayers."
"Our community stands in support of our JV hockey team that was involved in an accident after a travel contest last night," the post read.
The Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL also released a statement supporting the team.
“We send our thoughts and prayers to the Saint Ignatius College Prep’s hockey team, their coaches and their families after the team was involved in a serious bus accident last night. Please join us in keeping them in your thoughts,” the team said.
Police said witnesses and security video revealed that Santos “disregarded a red light by several seconds before striking the bus during its turn.”
The crash occurred just two minutes after police received reports that the driver was speeding, swerving into other lanes of traffic and driving off the roadway, officials said.
Police said in a news release that “officers had reason to suspect alcohol was a factor in this collision” after they spoke to Santos, who was slurring his words and smelled like alcohol.
Santos failed field sobriety tests and refused to consent to a chemical test, police said. Authorities obtained a search warrant that allowed hospital staff members to take a blood draw for official testing.
Santos was being held on a 48-hour hold by the Kosciusko County prosecutor’s office in connection with formal felony charges related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and causing serious bodily injury, police said.
The Illinois bus driver consented to a blood draw, police said.
Warsaw police said in a news release that “additional charges may be added or enhanced based on the outcome.”