Cause of symptoms undetermined after substance exposure on Indian Land HS bus

A 14-year-old student lost consciousness, and other students showed symptoms of exposure during the Oct. 26 incident.
An investigation was unable to determine what led to symptoms after more than 40 students were exposed to an unknown substance.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 1:50 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2022 at 1:51 PM EST
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LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) - An investigation was unable to determine what led to symptoms after more than 40 students and a driver were exposed to an unknown substance on a school bus at Indian Land High School back in October.

Investigators with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office previously collected samples of a suspicious powdery substance found on the floor near the back of the bus and sent them to a South Carolina State Enforcement Division lab for testing.

The sheriff's office has no evidence that carbon monoxide or any other emission from the bus itself caused the symptoms.

Related: Investigation into substance exposure on Indian Land HS bus continues

On Thursday, Lancaster County Sheriff’s investigators said the investigation into the cause of the symptoms experienced by students, the bus driver and an EMS worker has been closed, “pending any new information or developments that come to the attention of investigators.”

“The sheriff’s office sent several items to SLED for forensic testing. The results have been received, and no controlled substances or any other substances which could have caused the symptoms were detected in the samples submitted,” an update from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office state. “No information was gathered by investigators during the many interviews they conducted which revealed the nature of any substance which caused the symptoms or its source.”

A 14-year-old student lost consciousness, and other students showed symptoms of exposure during the Oct. 26 incident. EMS personnel treated patients at the scene after taking them off the bus. A family member took the bus driver to the hospital.

Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said investigators collected “everything appearing even remotely suspicious” and talked to many people involved in the incident.

“All testing results were negative, and we simply were unable to determine what caused these folks to fall ill,” the sheriff said.

Failed used the opportunity to remind people to avoid contact with unknown, suspicious substances and to call 911 immediately if they find such substances or if anyone experiences symptoms from possible exposure.