'Numerous injuries' in Minnesota school van-semi crash

The van involved in the crash that struck a semi near Benson Minn

The van involved in the crash that struck a semi near Benson Minn

"It does not appear that the students had seat belts on", said Swift County Sheriff Holtz of the early stages of the investigation.

Swift County Sheriff John Holtz said all eight were taken to hospitals, with three in a critical condition.

Bedel said the crash "was pretty serious".

Holtz said the man driving the semitrailer was evaluated at the scene and released. Arriving at the scene, responders found there was an adult driver of the van and seven school children along with one semi-truck driver involved in the crash. Three students were transported on to hospitals in the Twin Cities.

"Prayers for healing and into the future for these children", Hacker said. The van was southbound on a gravel road when it entered the intersection, and the semi, pulling an empty grain trailer eastbound on a paved road, struck the van on the passenger side. The school van was driven by 68-year-old Judith Van Eps of Hancock. According to the Swift County sheriff, 16-year-old Gaige Anderson is in critical condition.

It was "T-boned", according to Holtz.

Holtz said the Minnesota State Patrol should be finishing up reconstruction of the crash Tuesday night or Wednesday.

The Hancock Public School District uses smaller vans as a substitute for buses to transport some of the students who live further from the school.

KSTP-TV reported that Hancock Superintendent Loren Hacker says school officials are working with authorities to make sure the needs of the students and their families are addressed. "It's a horrific crash".

'And then with children involved, it's always - if you have kids yourself, it really hits home'.

He said Hancock is a very close-knit community.