A child was killed and four other people were seriously injured when a school bus was struck by a big-rig and became entangled in a pileup on a remote stretch of eastern Arizona highway Sunday, authorities said.
The bus driver appeared be slowing when the vehicle was struck from behind and pushed into a van in front of it, the Arizona Department of Transportation said. The accident took place at 9:27 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 west of the Apache County town of Sanders, the department said.
The age of the child who died wasn’t immediately available. Four other people who were on the bus were described as having serious injuries. It wasn’t clear whether all were children.
No others on the bus suffered serious injuries, the department said in a statement. A total of 19 were on board.
It wasn’t clear why the bus was operating on a Sunday morning or where the trip had originated.
Sanders is the location of a state port of entry and weigh station, roughly 20 miles from New Mexico, but there’s no indication the westbound I-40 checkpoint for commercial trucks had anything to do with the collisions.
The crash shut down eastbound lanes of I-40, a principle east-west roadway, for hours, with traffic diverted south. Those lanes were reopened in the early afternoon, according to state transportation information.
However, the department warned of “very heavy delay” on the eastbound roadway.
Although authorities had a basic narrative of what happened, investigators were still probing the cause of the crash.
Erick Mendoza contributed.