34 hurt when Greyhound bus heading to Detroit overturns near Cincinnati
PJ O'Keefe WCPO , Brian Mains WCPO , Casey Weldon WCPO , WXYZ.com Web Staff
9:25 AM, Sep 14, 2013
9:23 AM, Sep 15, 2013
LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WCPO) - Nearly three-dozen people are recovering from injuries and investigators are searching for answers after a Greyhound bus carrying 51 passengers crashed on northbound Interstate 75 early Saturday morning.
Dwayne Garrett, 64, of Cincinnati was the driver of the bus that went off the interstate and overturned into a cornfield around 4 a.m. near mile marker 26 just north of State Route 129.
Police said they believe Garrett experienced a medical event that caused him to lose control of the bus.
A representative of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency on the scene said 34 people were transported to area hospitals to be treated for injuries, which range from severe to moderate.
At 8 a.m., Ohio State Highway Patrol reported none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.
Two people were transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and four to Miami Valley Hospital via medical helicopter.
Both of the patients transported to UCMC were listed in stable condition when they arrived, according to a hospital official. One of those patients has been discharged.
An additional 28 people were transported to several other medical centers across the region.
Wendy Parks, director of marketing and communications with the Atrium Medical Center, told 9 On Your Side the Warren County hospital received 13 patients from the crash. Injuries ranged from back trauma to head and neck trauma.
"These injuries range from minor to serious," Parks said.
As of 3:50 p.m., at least 11 of the patients have been treated and released.
Another 14 people were transported to West Chester Hospital. As of 3:25 p.m., 13 of the 14 people admitted to the hospital had been discharged. One person is still in the hospital and listed in stable condition, according to Grant Wenzel, director of public relations and marketing at West Chester Hospital.
Fairfield Mercy Hospital received one patient but information regarding their condition was not immediately available.
9 On Your Side's Shannon Kettler spoke with Christopher Link, of Michigan, who was on the bus at the time of the crash.
Link said he heard a woman scream at the driver "Wake up! Wake up!", and then looked up and saw the driver slumped over. He said the bus then went off the side of the road, hit a tree and rolled at least twice.
"Makes me thankful I'm still alive," Link said.
He described seeing kids on board and witnessing injuries ranging from broken arms to broken legs. Link, who was not hurt, was sitting by the bathroom on the bus.
"You appreciate life when stuff like this happens," Link said.
When asked if he thought the driver fell asleep, he said he did not think so, describing the driver as "wide awake" when passengers first got on the bus, giving instructions as normal.
"He seemed fine," Link said of the driver when they boarded.
Link said he and others pulled together to help get everyone off the bus.
Greyhound brought in another bus to transport 14 uninjured passengers back to their Cincinnati station.
A spokesperson with the bus service earlier said the bus was transporting those passengers to Dayton, Ohio.
Garret was on duty for an hour before the crash occurred, the spokesperson confirmed. He worked for Greyhound for 15 years. The bus Garrett was driving had passed inspection 14 days before Saturday's crash.
The company set up a hotline number for family members to call to inquire about the status of crash victims. That number is 1-800-972-4583.
After several hours of investigating and clearing the bus, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reopened all lanes of I-75 in the area of the crash. All southbound lanes were reopened after being closed for around two hours. A separate crash in the area closed the entrance ramp from State Route 129 to northbound I-75.