Car's driver arrested after collision sends bus off road

Car's driver arrested after collision sends bus off road

OGDEN — A Champaign man was arrested early Saturday for drunken driving after his car allegedly ran a school bus carrying junior high school students off the interstate in western Vermilion County.

Illinois State Police said none of the 25 students from Johns Hill Magnet School in Decatur was seriously injured in the crash that occurred about 12:15 a.m. on westbound Interstate 74 near Ogden.

The release said Lincoln Staple, 39, was driving in the passing lane when he crossed over the center line and sideswiped a westbound bus driven by Melvin Mallernee, 49, of Decatur.

The bus left the highway and traveled about 250 feet into a cornfield on the north side of the road.

Mallernee and three teens — two girls and a boy — were taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana by ambulance. The others were also taken there for evaluation.

A Carle nursing supervisor reported Saturday that all were treated and released for minor injuries.

The students were traveling back to Decatur after having been at a show choir competition in Danville all day Friday.

Staple was not injured, nor were two Champaign men in his car.

Staple was issued tickets for aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a revoked license, and improper lane usage. He was expected to appear in bond court in Danville on Sunday.

State police were assisted by the Ogden-Royal and Fithian fire departments as well as paramedics from Pro Ambulance, Oakwood and Tilton.

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areader wrote on February 04, 2012 at 1:02 pm

When will drunk drivers start realizing what can happen when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle?  They're like a train wreck waiting to happen! 

Mike wrote on February 05, 2012 at 12:02 am a train wreck... or, you know, a car wreck. Something like that.

dickson wrote on February 04, 2012 at 7:02 pm

What were the kids and the bus doing at 12:15 am?

rmoney wrote on February 04, 2012 at 10:02 pm

@dickson, they were returning from a Show Choir competition. I know many of them in real life.