Semi driver arrested for OWI after crashing into a school bus critically injuring at least 3 students

Published: Nov. 12, 2022 at 10:52 PM EST
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WARSAW, Ind. (WNDU/WPTA) - A crash involving a semi-truck and a school bus in Kosciusko County sent multiple students to the hospital.

Around 8 p.m., Kosciusko Central Dispatch had advised that a semi-truck with New Jersey plates was driving westbound at excessive speed, swerving into other lanes and driving off the roadway near the Warsaw city limits on U.S. 30.

Minutes later, the semi collided with the bus at the corner of U.S. 30 and Center Street in Warsaw, substantially damaging both vehicles and causing the bus to fall on the driver’s side with the truck coming to a stop in a roadside ditch. Damage to the truck’s front end and the rear end of the passenger side of the bus indicated that the truck struck the bus. No other vehicles were involved.

After being struck by a semi-truck, a bus carrying Chicago's St. Ignatius College Prep students...
After being struck by a semi-truck, a bus carrying Chicago's St. Ignatius College Prep students tipped onto its side in Warsaw, injuring 16 of the 23 students.(Warsaw Police Dept.)

First responders from Warsaw, Winona Lake, Kosciusko County and Indiana State Police were dispatched to the scene, where they found multiple injuries to passengers on the bus.

According to a press release, the Illinois bus was transporting 23 students and two adult coaches of the Saint Ignatius Prep’s hockey team to a local hotel after a game at Culver Academy when the collision occurred. Two critically injured students were taken to Fort Wayne Lutheran Hospital, and one was transported to Lutheran Kosciusko County.

Other injured students were treated and released. According to police reports, 13 students were injured, with three more students being critical. It appeared that at least one of the juveniles had been ejected from the bus, and there were other injuries spanning from critical to minor. The student’s ages range from 14 to 17 years old.

The crash remains under investigation, but after smelling alcohol on the truck driver’s breath, Warsaw police initiated a DUI investigation. The truck driver, Victor Santos of Brooklyn, New York, failed the field sobriety test. When he refused to take a chemical test, Warsaw Police obtained a search warrant.

Pending formal charges, the Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office placed a 48-hour hold on the truck driver with preliminary charges of Operating While Intoxicated, Causing Serious Bodily Injury, a level 5 felony.

For several hours, the westbound lanes of U.S. 30 were closed, and traffic was diverted onto Center Street.

Stay with 21Alive on air and online as we work to learn more.