Students from the Sanders Unified School District are escorted away from the scene of an accident Tuesday evening in Lupton, Arizona.
A Sanders Unified School District bus transporting children was involved in an accident with another vehicle Tuesday evening on old Route 66 across from the Lupton rest area on I-40.
According to an Arizona Department of Transportation official, no children were injured, but two people were killed.
Navajo Nation Police, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Apache County Sheriff’s Office personnel were on scene investigating at about 6:15 p.m.
A wrecked vehicle, which appeared to be a car, was in a ditch that runs along the road. An officer was photographing it.
Moments later, a second bus arrived and students were seen exiting the immobilized bus, which was facing east. Police escorted the children to the waiting bus. The bus transported them away from the area. Parents were told to pick up their children about a quarter mile from the accident.
A helicopter from Rehoboth Christian Hospital landed near the accident and picked up an injured person. It is not known which hospital they were taken to or how serious their injuries are.
Police continue to investigate the accident.
UPDATED Wednesday night:
Police did not release the victims’ names by press time Wednesday, but in a phone call to parents, Superintendent Dan Hute said they were former Sanders students.
Police say alcohol is a suspected factor and continue to investigate.
A parent of a Sanders district student said she received a call from the district at 5:16 p.m. informing her of the accident. The parent said she received a voicemail from Hute at 7:20 p.m., in which he said all the students were safe and back with their parents. Hute told the parents the accident involved the Route 5 bus. Hurt also said in the voicemail two people were confirmed killed in the accident and asked parents to keep the victims’ families in their prayers.
The accident occurred across from the Lupton rest area on Interstate 40. When the Times arrived on the scene at 6:15 p.m., debris from a demolished car could be seen on the highway next to the bus’s rear end, driver side section. The car landed in a ditch. The top of the car was missing.
Officers from the Navajo Nation Police, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and Apache County Sheriff’s Office were on scene investigating. Around 6:30 p.m., police began escorting students off the wrecked bus, which was facing east, to another bus. The bus transported them to an area about a quarter-mile away from the accident, where their parents met them.
A helicopter from Rehoboth Christian Hospital landed near the accident and transported an injured person.
Hute said in the voicemail he wanted all his students back from the holidays and to be “safe and sound.”