One woman is dead and dozens of students were taken to west Alabama hospitals following a school bus crash near York Thursday morning.
The crash occurred around 7 a.m. on Millville Road in Sumter County, near Highway 17 about 5 miles outside of York.
"If you look at the bus, it's totaled, any kind of way that you look at it," said Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter.
Hatter said 34 students were on the bus that was traveling north on Millville Road when a car traveling south struck the driver's side at the front end of the bus. The windshield was knocked out of the bus.
The driver of the south-bound vehicle, 20-year-old Venus Alis Fore, formerly of Foley, Ala., was killed in the crash. She was living in the York area and is believed to have been on her way to work. Emergency workers had to use the jaws of life to retrieve her body from the wreckage.
"The school bus appears to be like it was supposed to be and right now it's under investigation to see what did happen," said Hatter.
The Alabama Highway Patrol, York Police Department, and Livingston Police Department are assisting the Sumter County Sheriff's Department in an investigation to determine the cause of the accident and whether speed was a factor.
The bus was taking students to York West End Junior High School and Sumter County High School.
Although details about the circumstances remain in question, what is known is that the impact was instant and powerful. It even caused the bus to shift significantly forward on its frame upon impact.
"At this point, they say the driver was pretty much doing what he was supposed to be doing, but of course, we won't know all of the details until we get the reports from all of the state troopers and everyone else," said Sumter County superintendent, Dr. Fred Primm.
"It's a blessing it's no worse than it was," said Hatter. "And I'm sorry for the loved one who was lost in the vehicle."