"Everybody's pretty lucky," said West Jordan police Capt. Gary Cox as he stood on the sidewalk of Old Bingham Highway (9250 South), where just east of 4610 West the compact school bus had its engine compartment completely crushed by the semi. "I'm surprised the injuries weren't worse."
The bus was transporting three adult counselors and 14 children enrolled in a summer camp at West Ridge Academy, also known as Utah Boys Ranch, after a day of swimming.
Cox said some of the children were wearing seat belts. The Utah Boys Ranch had the seat belts installed as an added safety precaution, said Ken Allen, executive director.
The vehicle was westbound on the Old Bingham Highway about 3:15 p.m. when it drifted into the eastbound lane, Cox said. The driver of the truck tried to avoid the oncoming bus. The semi was just about stopped, but it is estimated that the bus was going around 35 mph, Cox said. On Wednesday, police were investigating why the bus went into oncoming traffic, though Cox said the 22-year-old driver told police he may have dozed off.
Everyone was released from the hospital Wednesday, and the summer camp is expected to resume today.
The driver, who has worked for the boys ranch for two years and is trained in driving buses, has been asked to take a leave of absence while the ranch and police complete their investigations.
Amanda Gunderson heard the crash from her home, the back of which faces the highway. She thought it was her kids' bus. Her heart sank.
"I was amazed that someone even survived that," she said.
Along the side of the road, children sat crying, she said.
Don Bagshaw, who drove by the accident shortly after leaving work at SME Steel, saw some children had blood on their shirts.
"The ones who were standing out there were white as a ghost," he said. "It was terrible."
Tribune reporters Ronnie Lynn, Lisa Rosetta and Jessica Ravitz contributed to this story.