One person is dead and others are injured after an oncoming car struck a charter bus carrying Covington Catholic students and chaperones back from the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., local sources have reported.
According to witnesses speaking to WLWT in Kentucky, the car had been traveling in the southbound lane of AA Highway in the city of California, Kentucky, when it crossed the median into the northbound lane and hit the bus head-on.
"I saw a car come across the median and head toward me," Ricky Lynn, a witness driving north on the highway, told WLWT. "I was able to get out of the way."
The driver, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses told WLWT that a priest on the bus gave the driver a final blessing.
According to officials, four other people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries, WCPO in Cincinnati reported.
The passenger side of the bus was significantly damaged in the crash, and passengers in the bus escaped through emergency windows, WLWT reported. The bus was one in a caravan of four, carrying a total of about 200 people who had attended the March for Life on Friday.
In a statement given to local media, the Diocese of Covington said: "This morning, a bus carrying students and chaperones home from the March for Life in Washington, DC was involved in an accident. EMT personnel and the Campbell County police have been at the scene and are handling the matter. Please join us in praying for everyone involved in this accident."
Covington Catholic students were the center of a barrage of media scrutiny following the March for Life last year, when a video published online showed Covington Catholic students as part of a confluence of demonstrators near the Washington Memorial, including some from a Washington-based religious group called the Black Israelites, and some from the Indigenous Peoples’ March.
Initially, a viral video depicted a crowd of teenage boys chanting, dancing, and doing the “tomahawk chop” cheer, while a Native American man played a drum in chanted in close proximity to Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, who stood silently. The drummer was soon identified as Nathan Phillips, an elder of the Omaha Tribe and Native American rights activist.
The students became the subject of widespread condemnation from media figures and some Catholic leaders, who accused them of disrespect, racism, and antagonism.
Later video and reports that emerged showed a more complex picture, depicting the protestors approaching the students rather than the students surrounding them. The students said that they were chanting school songs in response to taunts from the Black Israelites when Phillips approached.
In January of this year, CNN settled a lawsuit with Sandmann, who sued the network for accusing him of racism in its coverage of the incident.
According to the Washington Examiner and photos posted on Instagram by Catholic Connect, Sandmann attended the March for Life again this year, though it is unclear if he was on the bus that was struck in the accident or in the caravan of busses.