Update 10:00: P.M.
13 West Texas high school students and a firefighter are now out of the hospital after a school bus crashes into three fire trucks on Interstate 45 in Leon County around 9 A.M. Sunday.
News 3 was at Centerville High School Sunday afternoon where the students, teachers, and chaperones on a field trip were taken to after the accident.
It was a scary moment to say the least.
All 42 members of the group are heading home to Odessa after their school bus crashed into three Leona fire department trucks that were responding to a pickup truck on fire and grass fire on I 45 just north of Leona.
DPS Troopers told News 3 the third fire truck was turning to put out a grass fire in the center median when they crossed into the bus's path.
It's a shattered bus, and it nearly could have been shattered lives for 33 high school students and a handful of chaperones and teachers from Ector ISD in Odessa.
The group from Odessa Permian and Odessa High Schools were on the road back from a weekend field trip to Huntsville State Park when the unthinkable happened in an instant.
"The Leona fire trucks were at a fully engulfed pickup fire while at that scene this accident with the bus occurred. Like I said I don't know the details of how the bus did strike a total of three Leona fire trucks," said John Adams, the Assistant Chief for Centerville Fire Department.
Adams helped coordinate the response after 13 students and a Leona firefighter were taken to area hospitals as a precaution.
"The kids are all ok. It's all minor injuries and I think that the Centerville school district here and all the community is just made sure that we take care of the kids for the parents out there so we just need to let them know that the kids are fine and we're doing all we can. Treating them like they are our own," Adams added.
Amazingly no one was seriously injured in the school bus crash which left the front end shattered. News 3 also took a peak through the front to see that the bus does have seatbelts.
The horticulture class field trip group was welcomed in to Centerville High School where they waited for the hospitalized students to be discharged.
At 5 o'clock Sunday a Centerville ISD bus, trucks and trailers loaded everyone and their belonging up for the eight hour drive back to Odessa.
Another bus from Ector ISD was headed to meet them halfway.
"Our community came out and supported these kids and kind of stayed with them because it was a pretty bad situation out there you've seen from the pictures. Yeah it was a mess," said Adams.
News 3 was not allowed to speak with students at Centerville and an Odessa teacher declined an on camera interview but said the whole accident happened very fast.
Centerville fire officials tell us six high schoolers on board were special needs students with autism.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
All thirteen of the students who were involved in the accident have been discharged from the hospital as well as a firefighter.
The students, teachers and chaperones were taken to Centerville High School while they waited for the remaining students to be released from the hospital.
A volunteer firefighter from the Leona VFD sustained minor injuries during the crash and is now out of the hospital too.
The fire crew was responding to a roadside pick-up fire when the bus collided with the fire truck.
At 5 P.M. all 42 members of the trip were loaded up on a Centerville ISD bus and are headed west to meet up with a new Ector County ISD bus coming from Odessa.
All the students on the trip are horticulture class members of Odessa High School as well as Odessa Permian High School and six were special needs students with autism.
The school bus did have seat belts.
The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the crash.
News 3's Clay Falls was in Leon County this afternoon and will have the latest on our 10 P.M. newscast and at KBTX.com
A spokesperson for the Centerville Fire Department has confirmed that a school bus carrying forty-two Ector County ISD students, staff and chaperones struck a fire truck off of I 45 near Leona, TX today.
The fire truck was parked on the side of the road responding to a pickup truck that was one fire when the bus was reportedly directed by police to change lanes but struck the parked fire truck.
An ECISD Spokesperson reports that twelve students were taken to four area hospitals (Madisonville, Centerville, Crockett, and Palestine.) Eleven of those students are being released from the hospital soon; the 12th is being held for observation.
The students involved are members of an Odessa horticulture class, and that the bus was on a trip to the Huntsville State Park for an annual field trip.
Some of the students on the bus were special needs students.
Centerville ISD has offered its assistance to transport students released from the hospitals to a single location where all of the other students are waiting.
Once all students are in one place, a CISD bus will begin to transport them back towards Odessa -- an ECISD bus is already on its way and will meet the CISD bus at an approximate midway point to pick up the kids.
Madisonville is in Madison County which is just northeast of the Bryan-College Station area.
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