DENVER (CBS4) – Police have identified the driver of an allegedly stolen SUV that collided with a Denver Public School bus Thursday, causing injuries to some students on board that required hospitalization.
The collision happened just before 4 p.m. in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood near 39th and Tejon Street.
Officers say Louis Ortiz was driving the SUV with multiple people inside and was trying to get away from police before the crash. They say he was wanted for burglary.
The suspect allegedly tried running a stop sign and the approaching school bus driver had to swerve out of the way before the collision happened. The bus wound up crashing into a tree and both vehicles were damaged.
A student told CBS4 that police who arrived on the scene then approached the suspect’s car with guns drawn.
Five students who were on the bus had to be taken to the hospital but none of those injuries were considered life threatening. Several other students wound up with bumps and bruises.
The suspect and four other people in his car were also taken to the hospital. Two of those were children who were seriously injured.
Police say they were not pursuing Ortiz’s car and that a chase was not underway when the crash happened.
The bus was full of students from Denver Montessori Jr./Sr. High School. Counseling was being offered at the school on Friday for those who were shaken up by what happened.
“I was at the hospital with the families and they were scared. They were in good spirits, though,” said Principal Katy Myers. “I think the most important thing that I noticed was they were very worried about each other.”
Ortiz is being held in custody. He has a long criminal record that includes aggravated motor vehicle theft, drug offenses, aggravated robbery, escape and parole violations.