'Students stuck under seats' Channelview HS band member describes deadly bus crash

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ABC13's Foti Kallergis talked to a Channelview student who was on the bus at the time of the crash.

A Channelview student on board a bus that crashed in Alabama, killing the driver, is describing the terrifying experience.

DeWayne Benson, 15, is one of the band members at Channelview High School.

According to his sister Sydney, DeWayne was on one of two buses returning home from a school trip to Disney World when the bus plunged off I-10 into a deep ravine near the Alabama-Florida line.

The bus landed on its side, causing DeWayne to land in the seat right behind him. He said he was sitting on the left side of the bus, and from his view after the crash, his right side window was facing the sky.

He was asleep right before the crash.

"I woke up and the band director, who was not driving, he was at the front and he was screaming, 'Harry! Harry! Harry!,"" DeWayne told ABC13's Foti Kallergis. "I felt the bumps. And then I felt one huge bump and then everything just went black."

Harry Caligone is the bus driver that was killed in the crash.

DeWayne said he heard "a lot of panicking and screaming. Some students were stuck under seats, some were on top of other students and there's a lot of panic to get people out."

The teenager also told ABC13 the students helped each other in the crash aftermath.

"I was trying to dig up blankets. I was trying to find phones for flashlights. And I passed them on to the chaperone. I just tried to get out and help others get out," DeWayne said.

DeWayne was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. He said he is not injured.

"I'm feeling really shaken up. So this just happened just hours ago right when we left Disney, so it's all pretty scary," DeWayne said.

His sister Sydney said that the students went to Disney to perform, something they do every four years.

ABC13 also talked to DeWayne and Sydney's mother Frances Dodson-Benson.

"At first when he called, I was panic-stricken. I calmed down somewhat once I realized that he was not injured. And then I started thinking about the other children," Dodson said. "There are other parents who have children on these two buses. I'm familiar with many of the students so it was shocking, just shocking."

Mother of student on board bus talks to ABC13

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Reporter Foti Kallergis talks to the mother of a boy who was on the bus at the time of the crash.

Baldwin County Sheriff Huey Moss Mack says about 45 people were on board.

People were taken to 10 hospitals in Alabama and Florida.

The sheriff says the bus entered the median on Interstate 10 and then fell into the 50-foot ravine Tuesday at about 5:30 a.m. It wasn't immediately clear why. The interstate was closed down in both directions after the crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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bus crashu.s. & worldstudentsAlabamaChannelviewTexas
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