VALLECITOS, N.M. (AP) — A school bus went off the road, rolled over and lodged in an embankment Monday morning and the driver died at the scene, investigators said. At least nine children were injured in the crash in a mountainous area of northern New Mexico.
It was not clear if the driver, Pat Valdez, 69, had a heart attack or died from the crash, authorities said.
New Mexico State Police said the Mesa Vista school bus, carrying elementary, middle and high school students, rolled over on State Road 111 near Vallecitos in Carson National Forest, a place popular for hunting, hiking and camping.
An 8-year-old suffered a broken back and 16-year-old had a broken jaw, authorities said.
Investigators said the six injured students were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment for what District superintendent Tracie Phillips described as broken bones and scratches.
Three other children were treated at the scene and released, authorities said.
Phillips said the bus somehow went off the road early Monday morning. Images from a KOB-TV helicopter showed the bus lodged in an embankment. It appears to have been driven off a cliff around 15 miles from the schools in Ojo Caliente. The roads are surrounded by mesas, sagebrush, and rocky terrain.
It was unclear what caused the rollover and state police said investigators were still gathering evidence.
“It is a tragedy and we are very saddened by events today,” Phillips said. “We are providing counseling for all of students, including those involved in the crash.”
The Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Department and state police are at the scene north of Espanola. Authorities have blocked off access to roads leading to the crash and all students appeared to have been evacuated.
The isolated Mesa Vista Consolidated School District is located in El Rito, N.M. and is around 120 miles north of Albuquerque.
Phillips said the small school district has an enrollment of close to 400 students.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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