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6 hospitalized, 1 needs surgery after Yucaipa crash of Mexicali school bus

June 15, 2001|By ARTURO BOJORQUEZ, Staff Writer

Rosario Aguayo García, 11, of Mexicali will need surgery after a tractor-trailer rig hit the bus in which she was traveling just before midnight Wednesday.

Six children were hospitalized yesterday after a tractor-trailer rig collided with a bus from Mexicali loaded with 45 people, most elementary school students who had been to Disneyland.

Rosario has injuries to her left foot and leg and other minor injuries.

Twenty-two people were injured in the accident but only the six were hospitalized.

Ernesto Navarro, alternate Mexican consul in San Bernardino, said most of the 45 people in the bus were children who weren't injured in the accident.

The students ages ranged from 8 to 11 and they attend grades four through six at Justo Sierra Elementary School in Ejido Nuevo León in rural Mexicali.

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The 41 people not hospitalized were put up at St. Francis X. Caprini Parish Center in Yucaipa by the American Red Cross. Navarro said most of the uninjured children would be sent to Mexicali after they are released by doctors.

The accident occurred before midnight Wednesday on Interstate 10 in Yucaipa when a tractor-trailer rig rear-ended the Mexicali bus after it departed from Disneyland as part of a field trip, according to Rita Vargas, Mexican consul in Calexico.

The bus is property of Indiana Tours, a Mexicali company.

Families of the children were informed about the accident and humanitarian visas were requested by the Binational Emergency Committee in San Diego. A BEC spokeswoman said only one parent, of a hospitalized girl, asked for a humanitarian visa.

Vargas said the school is in a poor neighborhood of Mexicali and an undetermined number of the children were in the U.S. without passports but were allowed by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to travel to Disneyland.

Rodolfo Cervantes, a spokesman with the Secretariat of Education for Baja California, said the children were not on summer vacation as July 9 is the last day of the school year.

"But most schools do these trips by the end of the school year for graduation," he said.

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