MICHIGAN CITY – Police are looking for the driver of a vehicle that crashed into a school bus stopped at the railroad tracks Thursday afternoon.
Michigan City Area Schools spokeswoman Betsy Kohn said “a bus was rear-ended when it had stopped at the railroad crossing after school.”
Michigan City Police were called about 2:30 p.m. to the 5900 block of Hitchcock Street about a hit-and-run accident involving a bus.
The driver told police Michigan City Area Schools Bus 2 was northbound on Hitchcock when it stopped at the crossing near Earl Road.
“She had just opened the door to check for trains when she felt the bus being rear-ended. She said all the children began yelling and it was very chaotic,” according to the police report.
The driver, a monitor and 35 Barker Middle School students were on board at the time, Kohn said.
One of the children struck his head against the window and complained of pain, police said. EMS was called and, after speaking with the boy’s mother, treated the boy and released him at the scene.
Kohn said no other injuries were reported.
A witness said after he realized there had been a crash, he saw a red Nissan Altima pull into the parking lot of Trackside Automotive across the street.
He said he spoke briefly with the driver – a black man about 6 feet tall with medium to heavy build – and saw a younger black female in the front passenger seat.
The witness then went to check on the children in the bus and saw the vehicle drive away north on Hitchcock.
The witness said the asphalt near the crash was “very slick and had standing oil.” Police said it may have been from an unrelated accident about 20 minutes earlier.
Another witness said he was driving south on Chicago Street when he saw a red Nissan traveling north at a high rate of speed. He said the vehicle had major damage to the right front bumper and headlight area.
The left rear bumper of the school bus was crushed in, police said. Kohn said the damage “appears to be minor,” but a second bus was brought to take students home.
“That’s the protocol in situations like this so that the bus can be checked out by our mechanics,” she said.
Police said the first witness got the plate number of the vehicle, a 2015 Altima, and they went to the home of the registered owner, but neither the owner, nor the vehicle was there.
Police continue to investigate and look for the driver and vehicle.