WHEN Destined for a Dream, a Bucks County organization that works with at-risk youth, announced in January that it would be taking students to visit Harvard University, the group asked its followers to "keep us in your thoughts and prayers!"
They didn't know then how much they would need them.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, as the 42 students and chaperones were returning from the trip on a chartered bus, their driver, Samuel Jackson, ignored height-restriction signs and crashed the vehicle into a bridge in Boston, according to Massachusetts State Police.
It took about an hour for all the passengers to be extracted from the mangled wreck and 35 of the people on board were injured - four of them seriously and one with life-threatening injuries, police said.
The bus was chartered through Calvary Coach of West Philadelphia. Calvary Coach owner Raymond Talmedge did not respond to repeated requests for comment Sunday, but Saturday night told several television stations that the driver was looking at his GPS when he hit the bridge.
That explanation was a sad echo of the September 2010 crash of a Philadelphia-to-Toronto-bound Megabus that killed four, including a Temple University sophomore. The driver in that case said he was following his GPS when he drove his bus into a railroad bridge outside of Syracuse, N.Y.
On Saturday, the students and chaperones with Destined for a Dream had traveled to Cambridge, Mass., to tour Harvard's campus, according to the group's Facebook page.
The group's founder, Erica Waller-Hill, of Philadelphia, wrote that the mission of the organization is to help at-risk youth "believe that they hold the power to create and shape how they live as well as the choices they make."
Undoubtedly, the choices that Jackson, 66, of Philadelphia, made Saturday night will haunt him.
Jackson was driving on Soldier's Field Road in Boston - a road police said he was "not supposed to be on" - when he missed warning signs for the 10-foot-high Western Avenue Bridge and crashed in to it.
Firefighters had to pull the roof off the mangled bus to extract some victims, but Jackson escaped uninjured.
The injured were taken to five hospitals, and although most had been released by Sunday, six remain in hospitals, with the most serious victim at Beth Israel Hospital, police said.
Police declined to release the ages or injuries of the victims who were still in hospitals. However, word spread quickly on Twitter on Sunday, and some people said that among the seriously injured was a Neshaminy High School sophomore who suffered neck injuries.
A family member of that boy declined to comment when reached by phone Sunday.
Kat Powers, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts, said the organization is helping the families of three injured students who will be in the Boston area "for some time."
Jackson was interviewed by Massachusetts State Police and is expected to face an over-height citation, but could face more serious charges if the ongoing investigation warrants, police said.