PHOENIX (Reuters) - A bus carrying 50 minimum-security prisoners slammed into an overturned semi-truck on Interstate 8 in Arizona early on Tuesday, seriously injuring the bus driver and two inmates, authorities said.
Another 19 people on the bus were taken to area hospitals for evaluation and treatment after the violent crash that scattered debris across the highway about 100 miles south of Phoenix, said Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux. Their conditions were not immediately known.
The seriously injured inmates and driver were transported to hospitals, as well, said Bart Graves, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. He could not immediately provide more details on their injuries.
The inmates were returning to prison from a work detail at about 1 a.m. when their bus plowed through the commercial vehicle that had rolled over in the westbound lanes of the freeway, officials said.
The driver of semi-truck told state troopers he toppled his vehicle trying to avoid an animal that had darted onto the roadway, Graves said.
Authorities said uninjured inmates remained at the scene without incident and then were transported back to prison.
The crash shutdown a westbound stretch of Interstate 8 for several hours.
(Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Lisa Lambert)