Witnesses say it was a terrifying scene when a church bus full of children slammed into a LexTran bus.
The crash happened just before noon on Nicholasville Road near New Circle. Five people were rushed to the hospital, but first reponders say none of them had life-threatening injuries.
One look at the wreckage struck fear into those nearby. Jesse Contreras was coming from the opposite direction on Nicholasville Road when the LexTran bus stopped to drop off and pick up passengers. That's when the church bus packed with nearly fifty people including dozens of children going home from Sunday school came from behind. "They smashed right into it, and everyone was at a dead standstill," Contreras said.
Three people on the LexTran bus including an infant were taken to the hospital with what emergency officials described as minor injuries. Firefighters attended to injuries from the church bus that were also considered non-life-threatening. "They were getting ready to transport two children off of the church bus that had minor injuries," Lexington Police Lieutenant Fred Lisanby said, "and they were also going to take their siblings so they could keep them together."
Police say the driver of the church bus didn't react in time when the bus made its regular stop. "He saw it. He just didn't realize they were stopping," Lisanby said.
In addition to the safety of the passengers, spilled fluids covering three-quarters of the road became a key concern. "I was just worried for the children because there was a lot of liquid on the floor," Contreras said.
While firefighters worked to contain the spill, church officials contacted parents, some of whom chose to pick up their children. However, for the most part, the kids themselves seemed to take the crash in stride as they gladly hopped on board another bus, leaving the grownups grateful things weren't any worse.
Police shut down northbound lanes on Nicholasville for more than an hour while firefighters cleared the road.