20 hurt in collision between school bus, train in France

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A school bus and a train collided in central France Tuesday, leaving about 20 teenagers injured, three of them seriously, after the driver was apparently distracted by a fight among them, officials said.

"According to witnesses there was a fight in the bus leading the driver to intervene and stop on the level crossing," prosecutor Francois Perain told AFP at the site of the accident north of the town of Auxerre.

The driver who is in his forties was taken into custody. No alcohol was found in his blood, officials said.

The bus carried about 30 pupils between the ages of 14 and 16.

The accident happened at a level crossing north of Auxerre, a town between Dijon and Paris.

"It happened at a level crossing; the bus passed with an open barrier and stopped when the driver wanted to stop a fight between the children," said local railway official Abdelkrim Amoura.

"There were about 100 people in the train who are fine. They were taken to Auxerre by bus."

The train crashed into the rear end of the bus.

© 2010 AFP

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