Some Simpson College students are counting their blessings after a crash that closed down the interstate for several hours.
The accident happened around 8:30 Friday morning in the eastbound lanes of Interstate-80 near the Colfax exit in Jasper County.
The Simpson College softball team was on the road headed to a tournament in Michigan when the accident happened.
A mangled semi and a destroyed charter bus are all that is left. Friday morning the semi-truck lost control on a snow-covered I-80, jack-knifed, and veered into oncoming traffic.
“When a semi went sideways a commercial bus with Simpson softball players on it hit the tractor-trailer and split the trailer in half,” says Lt. Randy Kunert with the Iowa State Patrol.
Though it happened in an instant, the twenty softball players say they all saw the crash coming.
“We braced ourselves, and just watched the whole front run right through the semi, and then the front of the semi went to our right and then the other half came back around and hit the window across from me and then went back behind the bus,” said Senior Leslie Downing who was riding on the bus.
When the bus finally came to a stop the teammates turned their attention to each other.
“Everyone was just scared, and everyone kept saying how we were so surprised, and so thankful that we were all okay,” says Downing.
No one on the bus was seriously injured, and the team says the driver is the reason why.
“Our bus driver, he was a good driver. We were very thankful for him, it could have ended up a lot worse. Otherwise he could have swerved and we could have rolled in the ditch and crashed the car besides us, we’re all really grateful for him,” says Downing.
The State Patrol and Jasper County Sheriff’s deputies were on the scene cleaning up the mess left behind, a mess they say could have easily been a lot worse.
“This one is a true miracle, anytime we can have a charter bus involved that literally split the tractor-trailer in half and we don`t have any injuries again nothing short of a miracle,” says Lt. Kunert.
All 37 passengers on board just had a few minor bumps and bruises. The driver of the semi also wasn’t injured.
The team was picked up by some Carroll school buses and were able to get on another charter bus to get to Michigan in time for their indoor softball tournament this weekend.