CARROLL COUNTY, Ky. - Kentucky State Police say two pre-school-aged children were pronounced dead at the scene of an overturned school bus Monday afternoon on a narrow country road in Northern Kentucky.
Police identified the deceased children Tuesday as Ryder Deitz and Caroline Tuttle, both age 3.
Trooper Brad Arterburn said the bus was carrying nine children home from the pre-school program Head Start at Kathryn Winn Primary School in Carrollton on Monday around 4:30 p.m. when the bus overturned on to its side and struck a tree.
"Anytime this happens to children that's the worst part of our job," said Arterburn.
The bus has been taken to the Kentucky National Guard Armory in Carrollton, where an accident reconstruction team is inspecting the vehicle for mechanical or other factors that could have contributed to the crash.
Police say four children were taken by medical helicopter to a hospital in Louisville. According to a spokesperson at Kosair Children's Hospital, the children range in age from 3 to 5 years old and their injuries range from head injuries to broken bones. The helicopters elected to go to Louisville and not Cincinnati, because of concerns about high winds near Cincinnati. The crash site is about halfway between the two cities.
Three other children on board the bus were released to their parents.
One of those children returned to the hospital for observation, officials say.
The driver of the bus, Laura Reed, 59 of Carrollton, Ky. escaped unharmed. Arterburn said an adult aide, who was later identified as Tina Gividen, 52, of Carrollton, was also transported to the hospital.
Officials say the bus was equipped with seatbelts, and believe all the occupants were using them at the time of the crash.
KSP Accident Reconstructionist Dusty Corbin says it appears the driver overcorrected the wheel while driving on Boone Road. Why is not clear.
Blood samples have been taken from the driver, says Arterburn, to determine if drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident. The samples were taken to the KSP lab for analysis.
Investigators do not know if any other vehicles was involved.
"It's a small country road, narrow country road," Arterburn told The Associated Press. "No lines, no center line on it. Right now we don't know what made the bus go out of control."
Lisa James, superintendent of the Carroll County School District, released the following statement Monday night:
A tragic bus accident has occurred involving children enrolled in the Carroll County School District. The accident is still under investigation by local police authorities and school district personnel. At present, we are most concerned about the children involved and their families. Counselors and administrators have been present at area hospitals with families of some of the children involved in the accident. The school district will have counselors available tomorrow at all of the district schools.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for more information as it becomes available.