At least 17 people were injured, including 15 students, when a school bus carrying a high school girls' basketball team ran off the road in St. Mary's County late Tuesday night, police say.
Maryland State Police also say that a driver of one of the vehicles involved in the crash may have been driving under the influence.
The crash happened just before 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday near the intersection of Budds Creek Road and Mechanicsville Road in Mechanicsville. Police say that a Dodge truck, driven by 45-year-old John Patrick Kravats of Mechanicsville, was stopped at the stop sign at the intersection, but did not wait for another vehicle, a Ford Fusion, to clear the intersection. The two collided.
At the same time, a school bus carrying the girls' basketball team from Great Mills High School was traveling east on Budds Creek Road. It collided with the Ford, sending the bus off the roadway and into a heavily wooded area. The bus was carrying 28 students, four adults and a driver.
The driver and a 13-year-old passenger of the Ford were taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown. Fifteen students, one adult and the driver from the school bus were taken to the same hospital with minor injuries. All have been released.
Kravats, who also suffered minor injuries, was arrested and charged with DUI. The passenger in his vehicle was also hurt.
Authorities say Kravats recorded a 1.6 in a breathalyzer test, twice the legal limit for alcohol.
On Wednesday, a judge ordered Kravatz held without bond, noting past convictions that include three drinking and driving convictions, battery, assault, drug possession and child abuse that initially involved sex abuse charges. Kravats is now a registered sex offender.
St. Mary's County school officials attended the Wednesday hearing.
“We're very concerned about individuals,” says St. Mary’s County Superintendent Mike Martirano.