Firefighters at the scene of a mini-school bus crash along...

Firefighters at the scene of a mini-school bus crash along the eastbound service road of the LIE in Medford. (March 8, 2011) Credit: James Carbone

A minibus carrying three mentally disabled students and an attendant crashed into a stand of trees bordering the Long Island Expressway in Medford Tuesday morning, with the driver telling Suffolk Sheriff's Department deputies he fell asleep at the wheel, officials said.

The crash occurred at 7:46 a.m. between Exit 64 and Exit 65 on the eastbound Long Island Expressway. Sharkey said the mini-bus ran off the main road, crossed through brush and a piece of fencing then crashed into a stand of trees alongside the service road.

The students were taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center for observation, Sheriff's spokesman Chief Michael Sharkey said.

The driver, whose identity was not released, was issued a summons for operating a motor vehicle while ill or fatigued, Sharkey told Newsday.

The bus was operated by Suffolk Transportation Service Inc. A spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the crash Tuesday.

The bus appeared to suffer minor damage.

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