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State troopers: Bus driver over corrected, rolled bus

The Blaine County School District says a bus carrying Carey Jr. High students was on its way to a track meet when it rolled about six miles west of Richfield along Highway 26. The bus was carrying 39 students as well as two coaches and the driver. (KBOI)

RICHFIELD, Idaho (KBOI) - Idaho State Police say a bus driver transporting dozens of students and adult chaperones Tuesday afternoon drove off the right shoulder, over-corrected and rolled the vehicle.

The state patrol on Tuesday night released the name of the bus driver as 67-year-old Richard Mecham of Carey.

Troopers say Mecham was driving a 2011 school bus and was not injured.

The Blaine County School District says the bus carrying Carey Jr. High students was on its way to a track meet when it rolled about six miles west of Richfield along Highway 26.

The bus was carrying 39 students as well as two coaches and the driver.

Troopers say the adult chaperones were treated and released at the scene, and 12 of the 39 students were taken to nearby hospitals - seven by ground ambulance and five by air ambulance.

None of the students' injuries appear to be life-threatening, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. As of Wednesday morning, only one student is still in the hospital, a Blaine School District spokesperson told KBOI 2News.

A parent of one of the 39 students on the bus said her daughter remembered a hectic scene, with coaches yelling to get the driver's attention before the vehicle flipped over.

"Students heard the coach yell at the driver 'hey, hey, hey!' right before the bus flipped," Cindy Stocking of Carey told The Associated Press via text message.

Stocking immediately drove to the scene after getting a call from her 13-year-old daughter Hailee, even though the school discouraged parents from going to the site.

"I found her and we hugged like we never have before," Stocking said, adding that Hailee had been in another rollover crash six months ago in a family car.

Some students were seen with slings and braces on their legs, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. The bus completely rolled over but landed on its wheels.

A second bus was on its way to pick up students who were going back to school.

The crash occurred about six miles west of Richfield at milepost 175.

Idaho State Police is the lead investigating agency.

KBOI 2News focused on the issue of seat belts on school buses in an investigation in February of this year.

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