1 dead in Illinois school bus crash, kids OK

WADSWORTH, Ill. One person died and dozens of elementary school children were taken to hospitals Friday after a school bus crash in northern Illinois that left two cars mangled and the bus on its side, authorities said.

Sheriff Mark Curran of Lake County told CBS Station WBBM that a preliminary investigation indicates the bus, traveling westbound on Route 173, may have run a red light at Route 173 and Kilbourn shortly before 8 a.m., colliding with a yellow Jeep Wrangler, whose driver was killed. The bus was overturned.

Another vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, was also involved in the accident.

None of the children -- who were not wearing seat belts -- was seriously injured, nor was the female bus driver.

"The bus ... struck the vehicle, essentially close to a T-bone on the passenger section of the Jeep Wrangler," Curran said. Television footage showed the bus on its side with the two wrecked cars nearby and debris scattered in an adjacent farm field.

The coroner's office says a male died at the scene but did not provide other details. An autopsy is expected later today.

The bus driver was speaking with investigators.

The bus was taking 35 children to Newport Elementary School in Wadsworth.

Most of the children climbed out of the bus through the back exit. Authorities said the children were already off the bus when emergency crews arrived.

"Some of the kids were upbeat, jovial as if they just got off a ride at Great America," Lake County Sheriff Chief Brian Keller said. "Other kids were asking for their mother or father and wanted to go home."

A total of 25 people were transported to Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville. Twenty-three were listed in good to fair condition, while two others were listed in fair to serious.

Other victims were sent to St. Catherine's in Wisconsin, and to Vista Medical Center in Waukegan, where spokesman John Griffin said one student was in fair condition and five others were in good condition.

The village of Wadsworth is about 45 miles north of Chicago