A semi truck struck the back of a coach bus, igniting a fire that covered both vehicles. The fatal accident claimed the life of the truck driver and injured 30 people on the bus, including 7 who required hospitalization. Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the early morning accident.
Moments before the accident, the bus had pulled off the side of the road due to a mechanical problem. With the emergency flashers still blinking, the bus attempted to merge back onto the highway and was struck. The exact position of the bus and its speed when the impact occurred are of particular interest to police.
While both vehicles burned, a soldier on leave who spotted the accident stopped to help. He made several trips into the burning bus to help injured victims to safety. All of the passengers on the bus, employees of a Canadian insurance company along with their families, managed to escape before the flames consumed the bus. The truck driver was not so lucky.
Only one ticket has been issued so far in connection with the incident. The bus driver was driving with a suspended license. While he was properly licensed in Canada, his U.S. driver’s license had been suspended several years ago as a result of speeding tickets. The truck driver, a 59 year-old Michigan man, had a clean driving record.
The tour bus industry has been beset by accidents this year. There have already been more injuries and deaths in tour bus accidents this year than all of last year. This is the second fatal bus accident in less than a week. Transportation safety officials are surely taking note of this increase and may take steps to address tour bus safety in the future.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, “AP-US-Bus-Semi-Crash, 689,” Ben Dobbin, 22 July, 2011