The crash happened around 7:30 a.m., about 50 miles west of Baton Rouge on a straight, clear stretch of U.S. 190 between Port Barre and Opelousas.
The driver of the school bus, also the mayor of Port Barre, suffered minor injuries as did the driver of the tractor-trailer. Mayor Gil Savoy, 67, is a retired school bus driver who was working as a substitute Friday morning when the accident occurred.
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According to a report on MSNBC, the bus was just starting to leave the bus stop with its warning lights flashing and its stop signs extended. Savoy's wife, Camilla Savoy, told KATC-TV that her husband told her he looked in his rearview mirror, saw the big rig bearing down on his bus and yelled to the children to brace themselves. He grabbed the steering wheel and managed to keep the bus on the road, Camilla Savoy said.
Savoy was treated and released, Opelousas General Medical Center spokeswoman Deanna LeJeune said.
William Thibodeaux, head of transportation for the St. Landry Parish School System said children were taken to a half-dozen hospitals.