KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WNCN) — A major vehicle crash that injured several people north of Charlotte Friday afternoon involved a bus carrying a sports team from Barton College in Wilson, officials said.
The wreck involving at least three vehicles happened just before 1:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 near exit 65 near Kannapolis in Cabarrus County, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Troopers told WJZY that the driver of the bus from Barton College failed to slow down and hit at least two cars, which closed southbound I-85 at exit 65 for more than two hours Friday afternoon. At least one person was pinned in a car involved in the crash, which happened about 25 miles northeast of Charlotte, according to the Concord Fire Department.
The injured people from the crash were taken to Atrium Health Northeast in Concord, troopers said.
Photos from the scene showed cars that had major damage, including one that had the roof removed. The bus had some damage to the front area, photos showed.
Barton College officials confirmed Saturday afternoon that the college’s cross country team was aboard the bus, heading to the Conference Carolinas Championship in Charlotte.
The team’s coach and 12 student-athletes were aboard the bus, which is not owned by the college, Kathy Daughety, spokeswoman for Barton College, told CBS 17.
One female student-athlete was taken to a nearby hospital for a 24-hour observation, as a precaution, according to a news release from Daughety.
The student was later released from the hospital and is now with her parents, Daughety said.
The other student-athletes were checked “with appropriate protocols being followed” and they are in good condition, she added.
Cross County Coach Tim Foster and the team remained in Charlotte Friday night and are traveling back to the Wilson campus Saturday, according to the news release.
“Members of Barton’s administration have been in constant communication with Coach Tim Foster and are thankful that all student-athletes and staff are safe, Daughety said in the release. “Barton College’s first and top priority is always the health and safety of its students.”
Following the Friday crash, traffic was backed up into Rowan County. The highway reopened around 4 p.m., according to Bostian Heights Fire Department in Rowan County.
There’s no word about the severity of injuries to others who were injured in the wreck.
— WJZY contributed to this report