An investigation is underway after a bus carrying Brandeis University students crashed into a tree late Saturday night, less than a mile from the college’s campus in Waltham, Massachusetts, killing one person and injuring 27 others.
The shuttle bus contracted by Brandeis was returning to campus from a hockey game at Northeastern University when it crashed into a tree on South Street shortly after 10:30 p.m.
In a statement released Sunday morning, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office stated 27 students were on the bus, and that one student had been pronounced dead at the scene. Brandeis University identified that person as Vanessa Mark, an undergraduate student at the university.
Brandeis Community Grieves Loss of Student
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Julie Jette, Brandeis University’s assistant vice president of communications, noted that the university is providing counseling and support and will continue to do so in the coming days.
Brandeis has cancelled classes scheduled for Monday and Tuesday to allow for students to return to their families. Students who remain on campus “will have opportunities to gather and receive support,” Jette said.
“The counseling center at Brandeis is a highly valued institution,” Brandeis University senior Draken Garfinkel told NBC10 Boston. “I just hope that a lot of people feeling grief know who they can turn to rather than internalizing things and dealing with their pain in less than optimal ways.”
Garfinkel says he takes the shuttle regularly but is shaken by the incident.
“On the weekends, this is a far more convenient option, just now I think I’ll be much more hesitant to take the shuttle,” he said.
Latest Update on Those Who Were on the Bus
Officials have not released the identities of anyone else on the bus or any details about the bus driver.
In a public statement Sunday morning, Brandeis University said the institution is working with local hospitals and the Waltham Police Department to identify the students who were injured as well as the student who died.
“Given the number of injured people and the different hospitals to which they were transported, it is taking time to determine the status of everyone involved, including which passengers are Brandeis students,” the statement read.
According to the university, 17 people have been released from the hospital while 11 remain hospitalized.
“Please also understand that due to privacy concerns, the university will not be releasing a list of those who were injured,” the statement read.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.
Crews worked overnight to clean the debris, and were seen towing away the mangled bus early Sunday morning.
Here’s footage from when we first arrived on scene: pic.twitter.com/OMVXjzIoHO
— Mary Markos (@maryathanasia) November 20, 2022
PHOTOS: Massive Response to Fatal Bus Crash in Waltham
What Happened: Timeline of Events
When an NBC10 Boston crew first arrived to the scene Saturday night, Weston Fire Chief Justin Woodside said that at least a dozen people were injured when the large bus carrying an unknown number of passengers crashed. Woodside also initially reported that the bus had rolled over multiple times, however officials said Sunday morning that the preliminary investigation suggests the bus struck a tree.
Video from the scene showed a badly damaged bus next to a pole in a residential area, with debris littering the roadway and multiple first responders and firefighters from Waltham, Weston and Newton working the scene. It appears the front end of the bus, which looked to have the most extensive damage, collided with a tree.
The bus came to a rest right near the sign for the Watermill Center, a six-story office building on South Street.
Several passengers were seen being wheeled away on stretchers, and crowds of people had gathered just outside the yellow police tape that was blocking off the active scene.
The driver and 26 other students on the bus were taken to n…