Birmingham school bus flips on the way to tournament

(WBRC video)
(WBRC video)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Busted windows and a cracked windshield served as evidence of the scary ride some Wenonah High School students experienced Tuesday morning.  

Three busses were carrying students to the state basketball playoff game in Jacksonville around 11:00 a.m.  Birmingham Police Officer Eric Poole was following behind the caravan when he noticed the lead bus go off shoulder into the grass right around mile marker 172.  

"The first thing that came out of my mouth was, 'Oh my God.' Because I couldn't believe what was happening," Poole recalled.  

He says the bus regained control and came back on the interstate when it appeared the driver tried to break.  That's when Poole says the bus did a 180 degree turn, slid into the median and flipped on it's side.

Student Monterio Kellog was on the bus and says he was afraid for his life until he realized he was okay.  Then he went into rescue mode.

"When we came to a stop, I busted the windshield out so everyone got out and made sure everyone was okay," Kellogg said.  

According to Alabama State Troopers, 16 students and one adult were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.  The driver, 37-year old James Boles was not injured.

"He said he was trying to avoid a pothole or something and when he couldn't straddle it he swerved to avoid it," Officer Poole recalled as to why the accident happened.

All of the students who were not injured were loaded onto the other two busses and taken to the game. That's where teacher Eloise Crenshaw relaxed a little bit.

"Until you go through something like that, you'll never forget it," Crenshaw said.  

Students will return to Jacksonville on Friday.  The boy's team won their game on Tuesday and has advanced to the regional finals.