MCLEAN COUNTY, Illinois -- Two people died after a semi-trailer collided head on with a high school bus on I-74 on Dec 5.
The Normal West High School junior varsity girls' basketball team was on their way back from an away game in Champaign, the school's athletic director said. Police said the driver of the semi was going the wrong way on I-74 when it collided with the bus.
The crash happened near Downs, Illinois, about 140 miles southeast of the Quad Cities. The semi was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes when it hit the school bus, according to a statement from the Illinois State Police.
The Illinois State Police confirmed the driver of the semi, a 34-year-old from Iowa, and a passenger on the bus, a 72-year-old from Normal, have died.
According to a report by WMBD, the bus driver was identified as Charlie Crabtree. The semi driver was identified as Ryan E. Hute from Delmar, Iowa. It was unclear why Hute's vehicle was traveling the wrong direction or whether he was wearing a seatbelt.
WMBD also reported that the eight girls on the bus were listed in stable condition and have left the hospital. The coach on the bus, Steve Price, was on his way to recovery as well. He had many broken bones and was expected to undergo surgery on Thursday.
Officers said I-74 was closed in that area for several hours. Westbound traffic was being rerouted to Exit 142, getting off at Downs and directed onto 150 into Bloomington. Eastbound traffic was still moving, with one lane closed.