At least 20 people were injured Wednesday after a semi truck crashed into the rear of a school bus stopped on the shoulder of Interstate 39/90/94 near DeForest, authorities said.
The bus, from Lakeside Buses of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, was carrying about 30 students from Hope Christian School in Milwaukee. The students were from the Semper campus, according to a post on the Hope Christian Schools Facebook page. The campus includes students in 4-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade.
The bus was stopped on the side of the road with mechanical problems when it was hit.
“While very scary, our staff and students were blessed by urgent first-responders, local medical attention as well as the kindness and generosity of DeForest Public Schools,” school officials said in the Facebook post.
Nine people were being treated Wednesday at UW Health facilities, officials said. Northbound traffic was stalled for about three hours.
Emergency crews from all over the area responded to the scene of the crash at mile marker 122 on the northbound side of the highway, just north of the Dane-Columbia county line near DeForest.
The State Patrol is investigating the crash.
Sgt. Greg Jenswold said the State Patrol had been attempting to locate the truck at the time of the crash after multiple 911 calls reporting the operator driving erratically, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Agencies assisting at the scene included rescue units from Marshall, Waunakee, Lodi, Poynette, Madison and Middleton; Divine Savior EMS; Middleton EMS; DeForest police; the Columbia County and Dane County sheriff’s offices; Flight for Life; and Med Flight.
Med Flight was called to transport some of the injured, but further details weren’t available Wednesday.
A UW Hospital spokeswoman said two of the people injured were taken to the UW Health American Center on Madison’s Far East Side, with both sustaining injuries that were not life-threatening.
Seven people were taken to UW Hospital, with no report on their condition, the spokeswoman said.
The other injured were taken to other hospitals, but it wasn’t clear Wednesday where or how many were taken to each location.
The uninjured students were taken to the State Patrol’s DeForest headquarters so they would be in the same place when reunited with others from the school and with families.
The traffic backup was more than six miles long on the interstate, with cars taking the DeForest exit to proceed north.
The crash scene was declared cleared shortly before 1:30 p.m., the State Patrol said, about three hours after the crash.
Hope Christian School officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
State Journal reporter Shelley K. Mesch contributed to this report.