Inmates Help Injured After Prison Bus Crashes

June 3, 2016 Updated: December 21, 2017

Inmates at a minimum-security prison were praised for helping victims of a bus crash in Arizona.

About 50 inmates were being carried by a Department of Corrections bus when it slammed into an overturned tractor-trailer on an interstate, leaving a number of people injured. About 20 inmates, the bus driver, and a corrections officer were sent to the hospital, and several needed to be airlifted, reported The Huffington Post.

Uninjured inmates tended to several people who were hurt rather than attempting to escape, according to reports. About 30 inmates directed traffic and laid down flares. Others tended to the wounded.

“Everybody’s seen the movies and I thought, ‘Oh no, I’m gonna have inmates scatter and we’re gonna have 50 fugitives,'” Sgt. Josh Wilhelm of the Department of Public Safety told The Associated Press. “That was not the case.”

The inmates were minimum-security offenders serving less than five-year sentences for mainly nonviolent crimes.

Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Corrections, said that it was “great to hear” about the inmates. “It’s always heartwarming to see anyone jump in when assistance is needed,” he said.

The inmates were returning from a work site at around 1 a.m., and Lamoreaux said that isn’t unusual. “We have work crews at sites all around the state who are working all sorts of different hours,” he told the Post.

The 30 uninjured prisoners were sent back to prison.