ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police are investigating a crash involving a school bus. Officials say the bus rolled over and contained a number of students, many of whom have been taken to the hospital including the driver of the Mustang involved in the crash.
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The Albuquerque Police Department says none of the injuries are life-threatening. The students are from George I. Sanchez Community Collaborative School. According to a spokesperson for Albuquerque Public Schools, there were 23 students on board, nine of which are at the hospital as well as the bus driver.
It’s an area that neighbors say attracts speeders, and police say they believe the crash involved a man who was street racing. Joanne Pacheco was sitting at him Wednesday afternoon when she heard a loud noise outside and soon after, sirens. “It was very sad. These kids were crying, it was horrible,” Pacheco said.
Police say a white Mustang clipped the back tire of the bus, causing it to flip. “I’ve been here a long time and this is the worst crash I’ve seen, we’re very grateful that the reports are that the injuries are not life-threatening,” said APS spokesperson Monica Armenta.
Just feet away from this crash site sits a memorial for another, where just a couple of years ago a teen boy was hit and killed at that same spot. Police say it appears the school bus was in the wrong place at the wrong time. “We believe that speed was a factor and preliminary reports believe that drag racing might have been the cause of it,” said Tom Ruiz with Albuquerque Fire Rescue.
Pacheco and John Moir live just around the corner and say that comes as no surprise, often seeing cars doing donuts late at night. “Probably 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. at night is when it usually starts. I’ve left for work at 1 p.m. in the morning and you can still hear the motors revving up and down,” said Moir.
Wednesday evening, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller addressed the racing problem plaguing the metro. “This is a challenge here in Albuquerque, it’s a challenge all across the country and it is in every neighborhood. That’s how bad it is. We’re continuing to ramp up and do more and more,” Keller said.
APS says bus 272 will not be running that route Thursday, so in the meantime, families will need their own transportation to and from school. Counselors will be at the school to help talk with students.
According to a criminal complaint, 49-year-old Mario Perez has been charged with two counts of great bodily harm by vehicle.