PUEBLO, Colo. – Authorities on Monday were trying to determine what caused a bus carrying a New Mexico high school church group home from a weekend retreat in Denver to veer off the highway and crash, killing two people and injuring at least 13 others.
Investigators were looking into the possibility the driver had a medical issue that may have contributed to the crash Sunday along Interstate 25 near Pueblo, State Patrol Sgt. Blake White said. The driver is one of those who died, so the coroner will make that determination.
Authorities have yet to release the names of the dead or the other passengers, which included 10 children.
At least one person was hospitalized in critical condition at Pueblo’s Parkview Medical Center, nursing supervisor Kristina Wolf said. Others were being treated at hospitals in Pueblo and Colorado Springs.
The group belonged to the Roman Catholic parish based at the University of New Mexico. Church officials in New Mexico and Colorado confirmed that the group from Albuquerque had attended a retreat for 2,500 young people from 12 states in Denver and were returning home when the crash happened.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has scheduled a special mass Wednesday led by Archbishop John Wester. The archdiocese and other religious groups have put out pleas for prayers via social media.
“Please pray, pray, pray,” the archdiocese’s group of seminarians posted late Sunday.
The Denver archdiocese issued a statement Monday offering prayers and deepest condolences to the victims, their families and their friends.
The bus struck a bridge embankment and veered off the highway. The front end of the bus was destroyed.
Three medical helicopters and dozens of ambulances and fire crews responded. There were extensive traffic backups in both directions as authorities treated the wounded.