The driver of a pickup truck who slammed into the back of a Mesa Unified School District bus on the Loop 101 freeway Tuesday was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
The crash took place about 2:30 p.m., when afternoon rush hour was already beginning to slow traffic on the freeway. The accident snarled traffic on the freeway for more than an hour, according to Department of Public Safety officer Scott Anema.
The man driving the truck, described as being in his late 40s, was traveling southbound on the 101, just south of the Indian School Road entrance ramp when he slammed into the school bus that was stopped due to traffic in the far right lane, Anema said.
He was transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital. His name wasn't released, pending notification of next of kin, Anema said.
No students were on the school bus, and its driver and an aide on the bus were checked at the scene by emergency crews but had no injuries, said Kathy Bareiss, spokeswoman for Mesa Unified School District.
The front part of the truck, which was heavily damaged, slightly lifted up the bus, Anema said.
Two short skid marks were visible on the pavement where the driver of the truck tried to stop before hitting the school bus.
The short, handicapped-accessible bus was on its way to Webster Elementary School in Mesa when the crash happened, Bareiss said.
The back of the bus had minor damage and a rear window was smashed out.
People just need to slow down and pay attention," Anema said. "We're lucky no kids were on the bus."
Tribune writer Andrea Falkenhagen contributed to this report