A school bus driver was found dead and nine students were injured after their vehicle ran off an embankment in rural northern New Mexico on Monday morning, authorities said.
The injured Mesa Vista School District students were between 7 and 15 years old, a spokeswoman for the Presbyterian Española Hospital told the Los Angeles Times. One student was airlifted from the scene of the crash in Rio Arriba County to a hospital in Albuquerque.
The eight other students were taken to Presbyterian Española Hospital about 25 miles north of Santa Fe, where three remained hospitalized several hours after the accident with non-critical injuries, said hospital spokesman Nicki Allcorn.
The bus was on its way to the elementary school in the village of Ojo Caliente when it ran off state Highway 111, Jake Arnold, spokesman for the Rio Arriba Sheriff's Office, told The Times.
“It appears the bus driver may have had a heart attack or some other medical event that caused the accident," Arnold said. "That’s our initial assessment, but we cannot tell for sure."
It was also unclear whether the unidentified driver died from the crash or from the health problem, Arnold said.
The accident was first reported at 7:30 a.m. Mountain time, but Arnold said the bus could have run off the road sooner than that. “This is an area where there is no cellphone service because of the terrain," Arnold said.
The crash is under investigation by New Mexico State Police.
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