STANFIELD, Ariz. (AP) — A prison bus carrying about 50 inmates slammed into a rolled over semi-truck, sending the bus driver, a corrections officer and some 20 inmates to the hospital, authorities said Wednesday.
Inmates who weren’t hurt in the early morning crash tended to the injured and even helped direct traffic, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety and KPNX.
Police received reports around 1 a.m. of a semi-truck that had rolled over on Interstate 8, State Trooper Kameron Lee said.
Moments later, the bus with inmates and two Department of Corrections staff members hit the truck as it lay in the westbound lanes of the interstate between Casa Grande and Gila Bend. The crash forced authorities to close the busy interstate for several hours.
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Lee said the bus driver, whose name was not released, was seriously injured and taken to a Phoenix-area hospital. The Arizona Department of Public Safety did not have any details on the driver’s condition.
The minimum-security inmates were part of a work crew that had been on an assignment in Casa Grande and were being returned to the Lewis state prison in Buckeye, west of Phoenix, according to Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux.
In addition to the bus driver, a corrections officer also was hospitalized, as were 20 inmates, Lamoreaux said. He had no update on their conditions as of mid-day Tuesday.
The 30 uninjured prisoners were returned to the prison.
The semi had been carrying herbicides, which spilled in the wreck. Officials say the material is not considered hazardous.