It is being reported that at least two children and one adult were killed in a mass casualty collision involving two school buses, causing one of the school buses to land on its side. At least 20 other children were injured and brought to the nearest hospital.
The two school buses from Chilhowee Intermediate School and Sunnyview Primary were carrying students in grades anywhere from Kindergarten through third grade.
At least one the relatives was informed of a student being pronounced dead at the scene from Police Chief David Rausch, which prompted strong emotional outbursts from the family.
People were running to the scene to help the children get off of the buses, according to Karla Corona, a parts sales manager at the AutoZone near the accident.
I heard the big bang. As soon as I rang up the customer, we saw that a bus had flipped over and another was in the middle of the road.
I saw people running toward the bus. I saw all the kids being rushed off the bus. Firefighters were the first to show up, and two or three cop cars. People actually got out of their cars and ran to help.
It was all very emotional. God, it was scary. I sure hope all the kids are OK.
Nineteen students were taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, while another three were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. For those not killed in the crash, their injuries were described as “non-life-threatening.”
It’s not yet clear what caused the two buses to smash into each other, but Shawn O’Neill, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said that light rain had been falling throughout the day in the Knoxville area.
The entire freeway is expected to be closed until further notice.