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--Virginia State Patrol

UPDATED: 13 students from West Georgia Technical College injured in bus crash

Thirteen students from the West Georgia Technical College women’s basketball team were injured in a bus crash Friday morning in Pulaski County, Virginia. All of the injuries are considered non-life-threatening, according to Ben Chambers, public information officer for the college.

The driver of the bus was arrested and charged with DUI-D (driving while under the influence of drugs) and possession of marijuana, according to Virginia State Police. The Virginia State Police identified the driver as 59-year-old Willie F. Walker of Carrolton. Fatigue is also being looked at as a factor in the crash.

Walker was taken to the New River Valley Regional Jail. The students were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment and were being housed at Radford Hospital while awaiting a replacement bus from the college, according to the Virginia State Police.

“The West Georgia Tech family is terribly upset today that our women’s basketball team has been affected by this accident,” said Dr. Scott Rule, Acting President. “Our first priority is to ensure all our players receive the care they need and are returned safely home.”

Rule was traveling to Virginia to arrange transport, so that the players can get back home.

The bus was travelling northbound on Interstate I-81 near the 104-mile marker when it drifted intot he right lane and side swiped a tractor trailer, according to Virginia State Police. After the collision, the bus ran off the left side of the road, overcorrected and ran off the road a second time before striking an embankment and overturning.

West Georgia Technical College has campuses or sites in Carrollton, Newnan, Douglasville, LaGrange, Waco, Franklin and Greenville. Victoria Kennedy, a LaGrange High School graduate, is a sophomore on the women’s basketball team, according to the school’s website. It was unclear if Kennedy was injured in the crash.

The WGTC Golden Knights women’s basketball team won its fifth consecutive Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Women’s Division III Basketball Championship Feb. 25 to advance to the district tournament in Maryland.

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