Two buses bringing children home from school collided on a Tennessee highway this afternoon, killing two students and an adult and injuring another 23 people. Police did not immediately say what caused the crash, which sent one of the buses onto its side. The children killed were in third grade or younger, said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch. The adult who died was an aide. Three seriously injured people were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center and were in stable condition, Rausch said. East Tennessee Children's Hospital spokeswoman Erica Estep said another 20 children were being treated there for injuries that were not life-threatening.
Rausch said 18 of the 20 had been on a bus going home from Sunnyview Primary School, which serves kindergarten through second grade. He described their injuries as "bumps and scrapes." The other bus involved in the crash was from Chilhowee Intermediate School, which serves third through fifth grade. An eyewitness said one bus was flipped over and the other was "completely across the median"; he said parents soon arrived and some of them formed a prayer circle as they waited for news about their children. Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre fought back tears at a news conference. "This is an unspeakable tragedy," he said. "This is what we work every day to try to prevent." (Read more accident stories.)