A church school bus caught fire, early Saturday morning, causing all the occupants to flee from the bus.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper William Stancy revealed at approximately 12:54 a.m. on Saturday, June 30th, 2018, blue 2000 Champion school bus, owned by Herscher Christian Church, Herscher, Illinois, and driven by Sue A. Stevenson, 47 of Cabrey, Illinois was south bound on I-65 near the 243 mile marker (this is approximately three miles north of the Lowell exit) when the bus had a tire failure. Stevenson stated she saw sparks coming from the right rear tire.
As Stevenson pulled the bus over onto the right shoulder the right rear tire caught fire. All eighteen occupants (sixteen teenagers and two chaperones) were able to get off the bus as the fire quickly spread through the rear of the bus; within minutes the bus was fully engulfed.
Trooper Justin Hansen and Midnight Blue Towing were able to transport all the occupants to an establishment at the Lowell exit where they were able to make arrangements to get home.
South bound I-65 lanes in this area were closed for approximately two hours for extinguishing the fire, clean-up, and removal of the bus.