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21 People Injured After Bus Returning From Church Retreat Overturns Near Highland

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More than 20 people were injured after a shuttle bus returning from a church retreat overturned along State Route 330 in San Bernardino County Sunday afternoon, officials said.

The crash was reported about 2 p.m. along the curving highway, about 3 miles north of the 210 Freeway.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department initially reported there were 50 passengers on the bus, but the department's Jeremy Kern later clarified there were 22 people aboard.

Authorities responded to an overturned shuttle bus along Highway 330 near Highland on May 22, 2016. (Credit: Tod Sudmeier)

Authorities responded to an overturned shuttle bus along Highway 330 near Highland on May 22, 2016. (Credit: Tod Sudmeier)

A total of 21 people were injured, with four suffering critical injuries, Kern said. Everyone is expected to survive, officials said.

The bus was carrying passengers from the Ministerios Llamada Final in Downey who were returning from an annual women's ministry retreat in the Big Bear area, according the church's pastor's assistant.

State Route 330 was closed from Highland to City Creek.

The crash is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.

"These are treacherous roads, mountainous roads, so it's not uncommon for people who are inexperienced to be involved in accidents up here, "said CHP Officer Juan Quintero.

The crash could have been much worse, given the many blind turns on the road and the steep drop on the edge of the highway, Quintero said.

Initial reports indicate that the 2000 El Dorado bus, driven by a 49-year-old Paramount woman, hit the back of a Nissan Versa, and then sideswiped a steep canyon wall before overturning on the roadway.

The driver of the car, a 30-year-old Los Angeles man, was not injured in the crash, according to a Highway Patrol news release.

It is unclear what caused the crash, but investigators suspect the bus may have had brake issues.

The Redlands, San Manuel and Running Springs fire departments as well as Cal Fire and San Bernardino National Forest officials were also at the scene.

All of the victims had been taken to local hospitals by 3:45 p.m., fire officials said. Many of them were at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton.

The bus was the last in a caravan returning from the church retreat in Big Bear. Everyone on the bus was from the ministry and about 200 women attended the retreat, pastor’s assistant Robert Acosta said.

Church and family members gathered at the church Sunday hoping to hear updates on the incident.

KTLA's Stephen Acosta contributed to this story. 

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the driver of the passenger car that was involved in the crash. The story has been updated.