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Dozens of students hurt when bus roof sheared off in overpass crash

Courtesy: CBS New York

LAKEVIEW, N.Y. (CBSNews) -- A charter bus carrying teenagers returning from a spring break trip Sunday night struck a bridge overpass on Long Island, seriously injuring six passengers and mangling the entire length of the top of the bus. The crash happened shortly after 9 p.m. on the Southern State Parkway in Lakeview, according to New York State Police.

One of the six injured passengers had very serious injuries, said State Police Maj. David Candelaria. Thirty-seven other passengers suffered minor injuries.

"Everybody was able to walk out except one, which we extricated," Lakeview Fire Department Chief Patrick McNeill told Newsday. "There was glass everywhere. The roof of the bus is down to the top of the seat covers."

CBS New York reports cell phone video captured the scene showing a trail of glass and debris as some of the students could be seen leaning out of windows while waiting for help to arrive.

"The roof is literally resting on top of the seats," Lakeview resident Jonathan Smithe said. "They couldn't have seen it coming."

The impact of the bus hitting the overpass was so forceful, state police and others who saw the damage say they doubt the driver knew what was coming.

Multiple ambulances and firetrucks responded to the scene.

The 38 students from various Long Island high schools, along with five chaperones, had just returned from John F. Kennedy International Airport and were heading to a shopping mall to meet up with parents, police said.

Police said the driver was being evaluated and did not seem to be familiar with commercial vehicle restrictions on the parkway.

The minimum clearance on the parkway is 7 feet, 10 inches (2.38 meters) and accidents involving vehicles striking overpasses is not uncommon on the parkway. In 2017, there were reports that an electronic alarm system would be installed on the parkway to warn drivers of vehicles too high for the overpass.

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