A dozen students were injured Monday when a school bus traveling north on the Garden State Parkway went off the road and hit a tree Monday afternoon between exits 33 and 34.

The bus was transporting 36 students from Charter Tech High School in Somers Point to their Atlantic City homes, according to State Police. There were 12 minor injuries reported, according to police. The driver, Christine Williams, 54, of Pleasantville, and all 36 students were transported to various local hospitals to be checked out, police said.

Parents at the scene said it appeared one of the wheels came off the bus, but police have said that the cause is still under investigation. The State Police commercial inspection unit will check the bus to determine if a mechanical factor contributed to the crash.

Parent Kim Gilliamsaid she watched her daughter, Alexis Owens, a sophomore at Charter Tech, being loaded into the back of an ambulance on a stretcher. Gilliam said Owens only had minor injuries, and that she was being transported to Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.

The injured students had been cleared from the scene by 4:45 p.m., but the bus was still in a wooded area. Traffic was backed up, as the right northbound lane was closed for about two hours.

Contact David Simpson: