Bus driver faces charges in crash that hurt 10 Highland students

News-DemocratMay 15, 2012 

The driver of a Highland school bus carrying sixth-graders home from a field trip Monday afternoon was cited by the Illinois State Police in connection with a crash that left 10 students injured.

Henry E. Jaeger, 66, of Highland, was cited for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Jaeger was also injured in the crash and taken to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

The accident happened Monday at 4:34 p.m. on southbound Interstate 55 about five miles north of Litchfield when the bus crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer, according to the crash report from the Illinois State Police.

The bus struck the tractor-trailer as it either slowed or stopped for a construction zone.

None of the students received life-threatening injuries, Highland Superintendent Michael Sutton said. One student, Jessica Davis, 12, of Alhambra, was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, while the others injured were taken to St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, Hillsboro Area Hospital or St. Louis Children's Hospital. Davis suffered a broken leg and was in fair condition Tuesday night.

All but two of the seven students taken to St. Francis Hospital were released Monday night. Two were airlifted from St. Francis to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where only one male student remained Tuesday in good condition. A third student was admitted to St. Louis Children's Hospital and released.

The student treated at Hillsboro Area Hospital has been released.

Students who were not injured returned to Grantfork Upper Middle School by a different bus. Seven chaperones and 33 Grantfork Upper Elementary students were on the bus. A bus carrying fifth-grade students was not involved in the accident. The students had gone to Springfield to visit in the Abraham Lincoln sites.

The school district contracts its bus services to First Student.

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