CHAMPAIGN — A Champaign school bus was hit by gunfire in an apparent drive-by shooting Thursday afternoon that was followed by a multiple-vehicle wreck that sent one person to the hospital.
No one on the school bus was injured.
Police spokesman Tom Yelich said about 2:50 p.m., police learned that shots had been fired at Neil Street and Arcadia Drive, near Interstate 74.
Moments later, he said, there were multiple vehicles — he wasn’t certain how many — involved in a crash at Moreland and Town Center boulevards across I-74 to the north, near Market Place Mall.
Yelich said one of the vehicles, a black SUV, was headed north on Neil when it was hit by gunfire, believed to come from a passing vehicle.
Yelich said the driver of the SUV, a 34-year-old man, was taken to the hospital, but it was not clear if he had been shot or was injured by debris that was flying during the wreck.
Police were still trying to sort out the details of the shooting and the wreck.
In a statement to parents, the school district lauded the driver of the bus, which was carrying three students at the time, “who had the composure to remain calm and quickly pull the bus over to ensure that the students were safe.”
Superintendent Shelia Boozer also acknowledged parents’ concerns in a statement.
“I, too, am outraged,” she wrote. “Please know the safety and well-being of all of our students and staff will always remain a top priority for our District. We will continue to monitor, review and adjust our safety measures and practices during the school day and for other events and do everything in our power to keep students, staff and visitors safe.”
The incidents required the rerouting of other school buses taking children home from school.
There have been over 180 reports of shots fired in Champaign this year.
Police ask any resident or business in the area with information or surveillance video to contact them at 217-351-4545. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477 or 373tips.com or via the free “P3 Tips” mobile app.