By MARK OSBORNE and MATT FOSTER, ABC News
(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) — At least two people have been killed in a school bus accident in Meigs County, Tennessee, according to officials.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said a 7-year-old passenger and the driver of the bus were killed in the accident. Five other children were injured, including a student in critical condition, police said. They were being treated at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga.
The bus, which was carrying school children home for the day, crashed into a utility service vehicle on Highway 58 in Decatur, about an hour northeast of Chattanooga, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The utility truck appears to have swerved into the southbound lane where it ran into the bus head-on.
Officials said there were 22 passengers on the bus at the time of the accident.
The Tennessee Department of Education sent condolences to the families of those lost in the accident.
“I and the entire staff at the Tennessee Department of Education are deeply saddened to hear about the fatal bus crash in Meigs County earlier this afternoon. No words can express our sympathies for those lives that were lost,” Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn said in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to the students, families, school staff and leaders, district staff and the entire Meigs County community affected by this tragic accident and wish healing for all those injured. The department has communicated with district leaders and staff in Meigs County and surrounding areas and is mobilizing to support this community in safety response and services.”
Meigs County Board of Education said all parents had been contacted and were either reunited with their children or taken to area hospitals.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear the news coming out of Meigs County this evening about a serious school bus crash,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said in a statement on Twitter. “My thoughts are with these children and their families. Until we have more information, we will hope for the best and keep them in our prayers.”
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