|Page (1) of 1 - 08/13/11||email article||print page|
Father: Driver in Pa. turnpike bus crash hasn't had an accident since he got job at Greyhound
PHILADELPHIA (AP) ' The father of a man who was driving a Greyhound bus that crashed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike says it's the first accident his son has had in eight months with the company.
State police have identified the driver in Saturday's crash as 24-year-old Kareem Edward Farmer.
Farmer's father, Derrick Bivins, spoke outside the family's Philadelphia home and says he and his wife have had brief telephone conversations with Farmer since the crash. Bivins says his son needed stitches for a head laceration and a cut on his arm but is fine otherwise.
Bivins says Farmer doesn't have any health problems and hasn't had any other accidents while working for Greyhound.
He says Farmer previously drove a tanker truck used to refuel planes at Philadelphia International Airport.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
MOUNT GRETNA, Pa. (AP) ' The driver of a Greyhound bus bound for St. Louis lost control on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Saturday, sending the bus careering across the highway and up an embankment before it landed on its side on the interstate, briefly trapping a woman and sending 14 people to hospitals, authorities said.
Rescue crews freed the woman who was trapped in the wreckage in a rural area about a mile east of the Lebanon-Lancaster exit, turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said. Twenty-nine people, including the driver, were aboard, said Greyhound spokeswoman Maureen Richmond, though a turnpike spokesman said he had information that the total might be 25 because of possible duplicates on the driver's manifest.
Officials at three hospitals said 14 people altogether were brought in. Four uninjured passengers were picked up by another bus; the conditions of the others were unclear.
The bus from New York City stopped in Philadelphia and had traveled about 75 miles westbound on the turnpike when it overturned at about 6 a.m. on the way to a stop in Columbus, Ohio.
State police said the driver, whom they identified as Kareem Edward Farmer, 24, of Philadelphia, lost control of the bus while traveling in the passing lane.
The front end of the bus struck a concrete barrier and the left rear side rode up against the barrier, according to state police. The bus then crossed over the travel lanes, struck an embankment and traveled up the embankment before flipping over on its left side.
Richmond declined to discuss the driver's safety record.
Both westbound lanes of the turnpike were closed until about 10:20 a.m., forcing drivers to be rerouted off the interstate. Traffic had been backed up for about three miles while crews worked to upright the bus, DeFebo said.
A man working in a farm shop nearby heard the accident, his father told the Lancaster Sunday News.
"It wasn't a bang, just a slide," said the father, Walter Zeiset.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Hershey, Lancaster and Lebanon, according to officials at the hospitals.
At least 12 were being treated and released. Hershey Medical Center admitted one victim, who was listed in listed in fair condition at late morning, and said the other victim might be admitted. At Lancaster General Hospital, staff were evaluating five patients, said nursing supervisor Jan Frailey.
The crash is the latest in a series of bus accidents in the Northeast this year, though most of those involved smaller operators and chartered tour buses, not commercial carriers.
More than 30 people have been killed and more than 300 injured in tour bus accidents this year, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. That's more than in all of last year, when there 30 killed and 272 injured in 28 crashes.
Tour bus industry safety has drawn heightened attention since the March crash of a bus returning to New York City's Chinatown after an overnight excursion to a Connecticut casino. Fifteen people were killed when the bus flipped onto its side and struck a pole, peeling off its roof.
Greyhound set up a hotline ' (800) 972-4583 ' for relatives and friends to get information about people on the bus that crashed in Pennsylvania.