Department of Corrections inmates injured after bus crashes on I-8

GILA BEND, Ariz. - The Arizona Department of Corrections says one of its buses carrying 50 inmates crashed on Interstate-8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend.

DPS says the bus apparently slammed into the semi which had rolled over in an earlier accident.

The driver of the semi truck told FOX 10 this morning that his truck overturned when he swerved to avoid an animal, he was not hurt seriously, but a few minutes later a bus carrying a prison work crew slammed right into the semi.

"We had 50 inmates on the bus and two staff, both staff and 20 inmates were taken to the hospital, all but one of the inmates back at Lewis facility and driver still in hospital at this time," said DOC spokesperson Bill Lamoreaux.

Interstate 8 was shut down in both directions for hours, it reopened around Noon.

Prison work crews routinely take buses to work in various places.

"This crew is an outside work crew back from working in Casa Grande, you have to be minimum custody inmates, they were coming back to the prison after an evening of working when the accident happened," said Lamoreaux.

Cleanup crews were called because the semi truck was hauling environmentally-friendly pesticide, so moving it was slow going.

DPS troopers say drivers heading westbound on I-8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend were delayed by the wreck.

All prisoners were accounted for, 30 of them were not injured in the crash. They were all returned to the Lewis prison.