Four Visalia Unified students were injured Tuesday afternoon when their bus was hit head on by a Ford pickup that had been rear-ended by another vehicle, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The collision happened about 3:26 p.m. at West Caldwell Avenue and South Shirk Road.
Three students were taken to Tulare Regional Medical Center in Tulare and one went to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, all with minor injuries, said CHP Officer Steve Beal. The Ford driver was taken to Kaweah Delta with moderate injuries, Beal said. The driver of the school bus was unhurt.
The bus was carrying 27 students and two teachers at the time of the crash. Visalia Unified School District sent a bus to collect the students who were not hurt.
Beal said the Ford pickup was heading east on Caldwell Avenue when it slowed down and was hit from behind by a Dodge sedan. The Ford was pushed into the westbound lane, where it smashed into the front of the school bus and caught fire. The bus was shoved into a field.
The school bus sustained major damage to the front end, and students on board used an emergency exit to evacuate. The Tulare County Fire Department put out the fire in the Ford pickup.