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Bus strikes Long Island overpass, injuring high school students

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A bus carrying high school students struck a highway overpass on Long Island in New York on Sunday, injuring more than 40 people, police said.

The charter bus was traveling eastbound on the Southern State Parkway in Lakeview on Sunday evening when it slammed into the overpass, police said. The top of the bus was sheared off by the impact of the crash.

Commercial vehicles such as this bus are not allowed on New York State parkways because the bridges are so low in certain areas.

New York State Police Maj. David Candelaria described multiple of the injuries as serious, adding that some of the passengers had to be extricated.

“This was treated as a mass-casualty incident,” Candelaria said at a press conference at the scene. “I give credit the Nassau County police ambulance bureau’s emergency services unit and the Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department. They set up a mass-casualty treatment triage and probably saved lives.

“We’re very lucky. This could have been tragic,” he added.

The injuries ranged from broken bones and cuts and scrapes, Candelaria said.

Two of the injuries were serious, five were moderate and the remainder were minor, police said in a press release.

Forty-four people were on board the bus, including the driver, five chaperones and 38 students.

The teens, all between ages 16 and 18, were returning from a trip to Europe and heading to meet their parents at a nearby mall when the accident happened, authorities said. It was not clear which schools they were affiliated with.

The bus was operated New Jersey-based Journey Bus Lines, which did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Police told ABC’s New York station WABC that the driver is not from the area and was not aware of the parkway system. The bridge is one of the lowest, if not the lowest, on the entire system, according to WABC.

The New York State Police Department said the driver would undergo drug and alcohol testing.

The crash is under investigation.

ABC News’ Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.

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