Baldwin County

UPDATE: Bus driver dead, 8 still hospitalized in high school tour bus crash

BALDWIN COUNTY, AL (WKRG) -  

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.

Governor Kay Ivey released the following statement about the fatal bus crash on I-10 in Baldwin County.

“I have spoken with my friend Texas Governor Greg Abbott after this morning’s tragic bus crash. I expressed my deepest sympathies, and have assured him that we will continue to pray for and do all we can to assist those affected by this event, especially the Channelview High School community. Governor Abbott expressed his sincere thanks for the tremendous efforts of our excellent first responders and was very complimentary of their quality and effectiveness. My team and I, including ALEA and EMA, have been and will continue to monitor this situation, and I have offered Governor Abbott any further assistance. I urge all Alabamians to remember how precious life is and to pray for those lost and injured in this incident.”

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.

The I-10 eastbound lanes have re-opened at the crash site from earlier this morning near the 57 mm.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.

In a statement by First Class Tours, the company that owns the bus, the driver was identified as Harry Caligone. The company said in the statement that Caligone was a long-time driver with the company.

Here is the full statement by First Class Tours regarding the accident:

"A serious accident has taken place involving a First Class Tours bus in Alabama this morning. The bus was carrying a group of band students from Channelview High School who were returning home to Houston from Orlando.

Regrettably, the accident has taken the life of the driver of the bus, Harry Caligone. Harry was a long-time driver for our company and we are deeply saddened for this loss. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.

It is our understanding that there are additional injuries as a result of the accident. Our prayers are with the injured and their families at this time.

We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation.

Presently, this is all the information that we have to share. We will provide updates as additional information becomes available and it is appropriate to do so."

Of the 20 sent to Sacred Heart hospital, 16 have been discharged, according to officials. Of those remaining, 2 are in serious condition and 2 are in good condition.

Officials say one person was treated and released from Baptist in Pensacola.

Families in Texas wishing to get information about a loved one at Sacred Heart in Pensacola can call 850-416-2694 or 850-416-2540

People who want to reach out to the victims and their families, they could use gift cards or gas cards to get back home to Texas.  Those cards can be dropped off at Coastal Church of Daphne located at 11101 CR 64 in Daphne.

 

UPDATE 12:55 p.m.

The following is a statement from Channelview ISD:

First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to our students, employees, and families that have been affected by this tragedy. As you are well aware, a charter bus carrying Channelview High School band students was involved in an accident returning from Florida early this morning. At this time, we have been able to confirm that 40 students and 6 adults from Channelview were on the bus at the time of the accident. We are aware of numerous injuries. We are now focused on getting everyone back safely to our community. We are extremely grateful for the first responders, hospital employees, and volunteers from churches and schools in Alabama and Florida that have stepped up to help our students and comfort them though this difficult situation. Those communities have opened their hearts and arms to our children and employees. They have provided resources, support, and a safe and welcoming environment while we work through the logistics of reuniting our families. We also want to thank our state and local officials who have all reached out to help us. Governor Abbott, Senator Sylvia Garcia, Commissioner Jack Morman, Representative Ana Hernandez, and Precinct 3 Constable Sherman Eagleton have all reached out to offer support and assistance.

 

 

UPDATE 10:04 a.m.

According to Alabama State Troopers the person that died was the driver of the bus. 

State Trooper also says City Hope Church in Malbis will be a meeting point for parents and students. 

9:44 a.m.

According to KPRC in Houston, First Class Tours owns the bus involved in the accident.

Safety records for the bus company show they have been involved in four crashes in the last two years including another fatal accident. The company has released the following statement:

A serious accident has taken place involving a First Class Tours bus in Alabama this morning. The bus was carrying a group of band students from Channelview High School who were returning home to Houston from Orlando.

It is our understanding that there are injuries as a result of the accident. Our prayers are with the injured and their families at this time.

We pledge our assistance in cooperating with local authorities in the investigation.

Presently, this is all the information that we have to share. We will provide updates as additional information becomes available and it is appropriate to do so.

8:47 a.m.

Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack says one person is dead, one in critical condition and 5 people are in serious condition. The other passengers are considered in minor condition. 

Passengers were taken to approximately 10 different local hospitals and trauma centers including:

  • Sacred Heart Hospital
  • Baptist Hospital
  • University of West Florida
  • South Baldwin Regional Medical Center
  • Thomas Hospital
  • Thomas Hospital Urgent Care (Daphne, AL)
  • USA Medical Center

Those interested in updates on family member can call the Baldwin County Center at 251-972-6807

A deputy suffered minor injuries while pulling people from the bus. 

Sheriff Hoss Mack says 

8:12 a.m. 

Officials with Baldwin County Sheriff's Office tells News 5 one passenger has died following the crash. 

UPDATE 8:02 a.m.

News 5 has confirmed that the passengers aboard the charter bus are band members from Channelview High School (Texas). 

 

UPDATE 7:44 a.m.

A family member tells KHOU 11 the high schoolers were from Channelview, Texas and on their way back home after a trip to Disney, but Channelview Independent School District has not yet confirmed this information.

UPDATE

According to Loxley Police, I-10 eastbound is shut down because a tour bus has fallen off a ravine.

News 5 has been told the bus was returning to Houston, Texas from a school trip. 

Officials say 12 to 20 people were injured in the accident and up to 45 people were on the bus.

Traffic is being diverted at the 5mm (Hwy 90 exit) on I-10WB on the Florida side.

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Major Anthony Lowery with Baldwin County Sheriff's Office tells News 5 multiple helicopters are responding to an accident involving a bus on I-10 near mile marker 57.

Witnesses on the scene tell News 5 both directions of traffic are stopped. 

News 5 is heading to the scene and working to find out more information. 


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