FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. (AP) – A driver lost control of a school bus, which struck several students as they left a high school Friday, then crashed into a retaining wall, sending 17 children to hospitals, officials said.

The driver said the bus developed some sort of mechanical problem that left it “somewhat steerable but out of control,” Pennsbury High School Principal William Katz said.

Fourteen students on foot and the three on the bus were taken to hospitals, officials said. A 17-year-old girl in critical condition was being transferred to a hospital in Philadelphia, a hospital spokeswoman said.

One boy dived under the bus as it veered toward him, suffering only scrapes and bruises. “The bus drove over him while he was laying flat on his back looking up,” Lower Bucks County Hospital spokesman Bob Harris said. “Thank goodness the buses are high.”

The bus jumped a curb outside one of the school buildings, drove over a sidewalk, barreled down an access road, mowed down a fence and slammed into a retaining wall. In all, the bus traveled about a half-mile.

Jeff Kardos, 14, said he saw a security guard drive alongside the bus to try to warn students to get out of the way. After it hit the wall, students scrambled out the emergency door at the back, said another student, 15-year-old Matthew Walters.

Kardos said the driver told him he had turned the key off and put the bus in gear in an attempt to control it, but could not bring it to a stop.

In New York City, another school bus overturned Friday morning, sending five children and two adults to the hospital with minor injuries, authorities there said.

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