Several Arizona inmates are receiving praise for their most recent actions helping wounded victims of a highway bus crash.
A Department of Corrections bus carrying about 50 inmates slammed into an overturned semitrailer on Aug. 11 on Interstate 8, leaving many injured. The bus driver, a corrections officer and about 20 inmates were taken to hospital, reported The Associated Press.
The bus driver and several others needed to be airlifted to Phoenix-area hospitals, The Huffington Post reported.
The remaining inmates who were not injured in the accident responded by tending to those hurt, instead of making escape attempts, reports said. About 30 prisoners directed traffic, laid down flares and assisted the wounded, according to Inquisitr.
Sgt. Josh Wilhelm of the Department of Public Safety said he had anticipated a different reaction from the prisoners at the scene of the site.
“Everybody’s seen the movies and I thought, ‘Oh no, I’m gonna have inmates scatter and we’re gonna have 50 fugitives,’” Wilhelm told AP. “That was not the case.”
All of the inmates on the scene were minimum-security offenders serving less than five-year sentences, according to The Huffington Post. The inmates on the scene were part of a work crew returning to Lewis Prison in Buckeye, Arizona, from an assignment in Casa Grande, Arizona, Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections said.
Every inmate was accounted for and all uninjured prisoners returned to the DOC’s Lewis facility, Lamoreaux said.
Lameoreaux told The Huffington Post it was “great to hear” of the inmates’ kindness.
“It’s always heartwarming to see anyone jump in when assistance is needed,” he said. “I think the programming, the work, the education, all the different opportunities we provide — hopefully it sinks in.”
Later that afternoon, it was still unclear what caused the semitrailer to roll over or what led to the bus to crash, The Huffington Post reported.
I-8 was closed for several hours following the accident in which the herbicides the truck was carrying had spilled. Officials said the material spilled was not considered hazardous.