BLOOMINGTON — Two adults were killed and eight students were taken to hospitals Wednesday night when a school bus was struck head-on by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 74 in McLean County.

The bus from Normal Community West High School was returning members of the junior-varsity girls basketball team from a game in Champaign when it was struck about 8:30 p.m. by the semi, which was headed east in the westbound lanes of the interstate.

Killed was Charlie Crabtree, 72, who was a volunteer at Normal West. Crabtree was a passenger on the school bus, according to Illinois State Police.

Also killed was the driver of the semi, who was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m., in the emergency room at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, according to Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood.

Ryan E. Hute, 34, resided in Delmar, Iowa, Harwood said. An initial autopsy revealed Hute suffered multiple blunt-force injuries.

The accident happened on I-74 between Bloomington and Downs, near milepost 137.

State Police listed 11 people aboard the bus at the time of the crash — eight girls and three male adults, including Crabtree and the driver.

There were two adults hospitalized at St. Francis, according to OSF HealthCare spokeswoman Shelli Dankoff. They were transported to Peoria by helicopter, as was Hute.

The bus driver was in critical condition Thursday, according to Dankoff. The other man aboard the bus, the team’s coach, was in fair condition. Dankoff didn’t have their names.

All eight girls who were on the bus were treated and released from hospitals in Peoria and Bloomington. A coach on the team, Steve Price, suffered broken bones and was being treated at OSF Healthcare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was listed in fair condition.

Parents were being asked to gather at the school for updates. On the district’s website was this statement: “Parents of players should come to the school. Staff is on hand at the school to help support students and parents.”

Videos on Facebook depicted part of the bus’s front almost sheared off. The trailer of the semi can be seen near the bus in those videos. Other videos posted by passers-by showed dozens of fire and rescue vehicles in the area.

The Pantagraph reported three helicopters were sent to the area to help with evacuating people.

It wasn’t known why the semi was going the wrong way on the interstate. State police said the crash is under investigation.

The bus apparently was returning from a game at Champaign Central, according to the Pantagraph. Champaign Central and Normal West are part of the Big 12 Conference, as are the three Peoria public high schools and Peoria Notre Dame High School.

Normal West was to be open as usual Thursday, according to Brown, but counselors were to be available.

Crabtree was a longtime volunteer and a former bus driver with the district. He was well known and beloved by those within the Normal West community. The school has given out the Charlie Crabtree award for the past two years for the player who best "exhibits Charlie's love of the game, sportsmanship and and selflessness."

"As a bus driver he always liked to take those extra routes to support teams. He would drive coaches nuts at time because he would do all the extra things like bring candy and doing things that the coaches might not have had on their plans — but the students always appreciated what he did. Personally, he followed my daughter's career and my son's career in athletics. He was a very caring person, and everyone knew Charlie," said Normal West Principal Dave Johnson at a Thursday morning news conference at the high school. "He was a very special person."

At the news conference, Superintendent Mark Daniel noted the condition of the bus — which was missing nearly all the front cab and some of the passenger rows.

“Looking at the condition of the bus, we probably witnessed a miracle,” Daniel said.