Phoenix cheerleaders injured when truck hits bus in California desert

INDIO, CA -

Three girls and their driver suffered minor injuries when a bus carrying cheerleaders home to Phoenix was struck by a big rig on Interstate 10 in the California desert.

The California Highway Patrol says the charter bus was in traffic that slowed to a stop Wednesday afternoon 35 miles east of Palm Springs.

The truck was unable to stop and struck the bus, crossed the median and was engulfed in flames but the driver got out.

The fire was put out by firefighters but the westbound lanes of the interstate were shut down for three hours.

Payton Miller, a passenger on the bus, described the incident as a "big mess" and explained that everyone was having a good time before the crash occurred.

"Everybody started screaming; they were terrified," Miller said. "They started crying; they didn't know what was happening. We could see outside the windows just going down that little ditched."

The cheerleaders' parents were equally as terrified.

Payton's mother, Mary Green, says they received frequent updates from the team mom. 

"The team mom was calling and texting us and letting us know that everything was OK," Green said.

Payton says she'll consider another mode of transportation next year.

"The first thing when she got in the truck was 'Can you drive me next year?" Green said.

The injured girls were part of a group that was heading home from a cheerleading competition at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This crash remains under investigation but drugs and alcohol are not suspected.

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