ALCOHOL MAY BE FACTOR AFTER SEMI RUNS RED LIGHT, INJURES 16 IN ST. IGNATIUS HOCKEY BUS CRASH
November 13, 2022
By Maher Kawash, Stephanie Wade and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team
WARSAW, Ind. (WLS) — The community is shaken on Sunday night with members of the boys’ club hockey team seriously injured in an accident.
The team was in Warsaw, Indiana, for a weekend hockey tournament when police said the school’s bus was hit by a semi on Saturday night as the team returned to the hotel.
Video from our ABC57 affiliate in South Bend shows the extensive damage.
“The driver of the semi ran a red light. We know that we have 16 students injured and five admitted to the hospital,” said St. Ignatius President John Chandler.
Twenty-three students were on board at the time. At least one student was ejected from the bus.
“We had 16 students that were injured, five are admitted to the hospital with, at this point in time, all of them will be returning to health but some much longer than others,” Chandler said.
Chandler said everyone is expected to be okay, but some of those five students in the hospital underwent surgery and face lengthy recoveries.
“Right now is prayer is the most important thing,” Chandler added.
Police believe alcohol was a factor. Warsaw police said officers detected a strong odor of alcohol from the semi. The 58-year-old truck driver, who they say was swerving and speeding before hitting and flipping the bus on its side, failed a sobriety test and was arrested. He’s now possibly facing felony charges after a warrant was issued for his blood to be drawn.
The school has been rallying around those families and relying on faith to get them through.
“We’re grateful for the respect of privacy for those families and also truly ask for prayers,” Chandler said. “Many people in our community have reached out saying, ‘What can we do?’ And that’s the great gift of St. Ignatius community.”
One St. Ignatius parent is doing what she can to help. Not only is she a mother of two St. Ignatius students, but she is also an attorney who has handled numerous trucking negligence cases, serves as the Senate appointee to the “Move Over Task Force” and has testified before the House for stricter trucking laws
Elizabeth Kaveny is now offering legal counsel and guidance to families affected for free.
“It was just panic, just panic,” Kaveny said. “What do I do? How do I fix this?”
Now, as her two worlds collide, she knew she could and had to be of service.
“They are going to have to go through a whole criminal proceeding in another state and some of them are going to look to a civil proceeding in this state or in Indiana. So a lot of them are going to struggle with, what do you want to do next,” she said. “I have talked to a couple families already that just wanted to cry with me and they just said they didn’t know what they needed, they didn’t even have any questions yet, but they just wanted to cry and tell me what it happened. I just said, ‘I know, I know. It’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK, you’re going to be OK.'”
The school told ABC7 some of the families have since returned to Chicago, while others may need to remain there for a bit as those critically hurt students recover in the hospital.
There will be a mass held there at 10:30 a.m. on Monday for continued prayer.
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