Authorities in Athens, Texas, are trying to uncover just what happened that resulted in two school buses crashing yesterday afternoon.

As a result of the bus accident, 81 people ended up in the hospital. The East Texas Medical Center-Athens says 79 students and two adults were treated. Most of the victims suffered bloody noses, bumps and bruises, officials say, but some also suffered broken bones.

Police and Athens Independent School District officials say they are working together to investigate the wreck. It’s unclear when they might have something further to report.

This kind of accident represents what is likely a parent’s worst nightmare. Every weekday, we send our children off to school on the bus. Each driver is supposed to be trained and carry a special certification in order to get behind the wheel, according to state law.

That can’t prevent negligence or recklessness, however. The result can be an accident. Those injured have a right to seek compensation and those responsible should expect to be held accountable.

What has been reported so far about the accident in Athens comes from witnesses. They told KLTV-TV that one bus struck the second, apparently from behind, and then went on to crash into three empty cars in a parking lot. They say the bus went on another 500 feet or so before finally coming to a stop.

Did the driver of the bus suffer some sort of lapse of attention or medical emergency? Was there some mechanical issue with the bus? There’s no word as yet.

The hospital says its 25-bed emergency room quickly filled as victims from the crash began to arrive. Treatment of the overflow crowd spread into hallways and extra medical staff was called in. The last of the 81 patients was released at about 10 o’clock last night.

Source: KLTV-TV, “Hospital: 81 people treated after Wednesday afternoon bus wreck in Athens,” Marshall Stephens, Dec. 12, 2013