The semi driver accused of crashing into a school bus when he disregarded a traffic light in Warsaw now faces 26 felony counts – one for each person on board, authorities announced late Monday.

Victor Santos, 58, of New York, is charged with four counts of causing serious bodily injury while operating a vehicle and 22 counts of criminal recklessness (while armed with a deadly weapon), a Warsaw Police Department news release said. His bond was set at $75,000 surety plus $2,500 cash.

Police Capt. Brad Kellar said the investigation continues on behalf of the Kosciusko County prosecutor, and additional charges or enhancements could follow.

“Some of these injuries are extremely serious, and we continue to pray for the full recovery of all the students, coaches, and the bus driver who unfortunately fell victim to these crimes,” Kellar said in the release.

Along with the driver, the bus from Saint Ignatius College Prep carried two coaches and 23 students who ranged in ages from 14 and 17 years old, police have said.

The junior varsity hockey team from Chicago was in Warsaw to spend the night for a weekend hockey tournament in Culver.

The semi and the bus collided shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday – minutes after police officers were alerted to a tractor-trailer swerving into other lanes and driving at excessive speed in the westbound lanes of U.S. 30, police have said.

Witnesses told police the semi disregarded a traffic light by several seconds as the bus was making a left turn on a green arrow at the intersection of Center Street.

Officers suspected alcohol contributed to the crash because Santos’ speech was slurred, and he and the semi cab reeked of alcohol, police have said. Santos reportedly failed standardized field sobriety tests and refused a chemical test, but a search warrant allowed hospital staff to draw his blood for official testing.


Reporter Ashley Sloboda has covered education for The Journal Gazette since 2016. A Fort Wayne native, she has 15 years of experience at newspapers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.