PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A driver fleeing from police crashed into a school bus packed with children Monday afternoon, authorities say.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, a person driving a pickup truck was allegedly speeding away from officers in Gresham just after 3 p.m. PPB says they attempted a traffic stop, but once the driver took off, officers decided against following the truck further.
Roughly a minute later, PPB says, the driver “lost control” and then plowed into a school bus at Pacific Street ad 181st Avenue. It was full of Wilkes Elementary School students on their way home at the time of the crash.
“No Portland officers were in the immediate area, so a Gresham [Police Department vehicle] drove into the truck to disable it after the suspect hit the bus,” PPB spokesperson Lt. Nathan Sheppard told KOIN 6 News.
PPB identified the suspected driver as 56-year-old Michael Crawford, who was arrested following the crash and charged with attempting to elude police, multiple counts of reckless endangerment, failing to perform the duties of a driver when property is damaged, and violating a restraining order.
Reynolds School District spokesperson Steven Padilla told KOIN 6 News that the bus was taking children home from school at the time of the crash and that no students were injured in the collision.
Witnesses on the scene, however, said that the kids were visibly shaken by the crash.
The Reynolds School District issued an alert to parents following the crash. The alert stated that the families of affected students were notified “as quickly as possible,” and that some of the students involved in the crash were picked up at the scene. Other students were driven home by a replacement bus that was dispatched to the scene.
“Law enforcement and first responders arrived at the scene immediately after,” the alert said. “The students and bus driver were assessed and found to not have any injuries requiring care. Staff from Wilkes Elementary and Reynolds School District also arrived at the scene shortly after the accident occurred.”
Wilkes Elementary said that counselors are available for students affected by the crash.
“If your child was involved in or heard talk of this bus accident and has any concerns or fears, please let the school know as we have counseling support available to help,” school officials said.
The Gresham Police Department told KOIN 6 that its officers were assisting the PPB with an investigation in the area at the time of the crash. The Gresham Fire Department was also dispatched to the scene.
On the day of the crash, a separate announcement was made by authorities and the Reynolds School District that a Reynolds High School teacher was booked into the Deschutes County Jail for the alleged online sexual corruption of a child, attempted rape, attempted sodomy, attempted encouraging of child sex abuse, attempted contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor, and luring a minor for sexual conduct.