Normal West student athlete tells story of surviving I-74 school bus crash

Normal West Junior Varsity Girls Basketball team

Two people are dead after semi-truck collided head on with a school bus full of high school students on Interstate 74 near Bloomington Wednesday night.

Twelve people were involved in the crash—the semi-driver and 11 people on the school bus.

The Normal-West Community High School girls’ JV Basketball team was heading back from a game at Champaign Central when a semi going the wrong way hit the bus head-on.

Amazingly, none of the students on the bus were severely hurt.

Including, Jorianna Bischoff, who was on the bus that night. She is now home with multiple stitches.

She said the crash still feels like a bad nightmare. The only thing she can remember is seeing headlights and then flying out of her seat.

"I look up and there are headlights coming towards the bus and then I hear a boom and then all the lights shut off,” Bischoff said.

When everything stopped, she said she found herself in the middle aisle with her teammates scattered around her.

"The bus went inward and I couldn't see the front of the bus,” she said.

Everyone then worked to escape out the back.

"I remember just hearing my teammates yelling 'We need to get out of here' so we're like, busting open the door trying to get us all out. I was helping my friend out that was stuck under the metal. I was pulling her out,” Bischoff said.

When the teammates got out, some noticed many lost their shoes from the crash.

"I had blood dripping all over me,” she said. “I could feel my skin touching my teeth, touching my tongue."

All the teammates were released from the hospital Thursday morning. Their coach and bus driver are still in critical condition at the hospital.

"Crazy that we had a head-on collision with a semi and somehow [the team] survived,” Bischoff said.

Many current and former teammates are mourning the loss of their “number one fan” Charlie Crabtree, who was sitting up front.

Jorianna’s mom Sarah said she is thankful it wasn't any worse. She said she's still in denial about the whole situation.

"I was just kind of in shock. There is no way that is my child on the bus,” she said.

Wednesday night she said she started driving to the accident before turning around to go to the hospital where the ambulance took her daughter.

"It’s slowly hitting me,” she said. “That absolutely insane. That's a miracle that you got in a head-on collision from a semi and you walked off that bus.”

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