Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

LAPLACE, La. - More than half a dozen people were hospitalized when an 18-wheeler rear ended a school bus Monday afternoon.

State police said the bus was heading north on Highway 51 around 3 p.m. when it turned right onto Main Street in LaPlace. That's where the trailer truck crashed into it.

Ariadna Vazquez was riding home on the bus. The 8th grader was one of six students transported by ambulance for minor to moderate injuries. The 67-year-old bus driver was also taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

'My neck got hurt a little and then my back started to hurt,' said Vazquez as she left St. James Parish Hospital with her father. 'A lot of people were crying and there was this girl stuck on the bus in the back and you only could hear her screaming.'

State police said 21 students from Lake Pontchartrain Elementary and Middle School were on the bus.

Of the six students who were transported by ambulance, officials said the four with moderate injuries were taken to Kenner Regional Hospital. Two with minor injuries were taken to St. James Parish Hospitasl. The rest of the students on the bus were also taken to St. James as a precaution.

Kyle Crawley took his frightened 4-year-old daughter to St. James Parish Hospital. She complained of neck pain and a bruised elbow.

'You pull up and you see all the ambulances and the fire trucks and everything like that and it's just overwhelming,' said Crawley. 'She was shaken up, she was crying, had to use the restroom... She was in shock.'

The driver of the Baton Rouge 18-wheeler, 50-year-old Michael Stewart of Zachary, is charged with careless operation and negligent injury. State police said more charges may come as the investigation continues. At this point, officials don't believe alcohol was a factor.

Meanwhile, Vazquez said she'll be afraid to ride the bus for a long time.

'I'll be scared,' said Vazquez. 'About every single day I'll be scared. I don't want it to ever happen again.'

State police are still looking into what caused the crash.

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