(video from MegaPowerAce, YouTube)
A bus travelling from Toronto to New York City crashed early Thursday morning near Syracuse, injuring 26 people.
The crash occurred roughly 10 kilometres south of Syracuse, N.Y., near the town of Nedrow, about 2:30 a.m.
A Trailways of New York tour bus crashed into a “disabled” Toyota Corolla parked in the passing lane southbound on Interstate 81, according to a release from the local Sherriff’s office. Fifty two passengers were on board the bus when the crash occurred. The bus then hit a tractor-trailer that was parked along the shoulder.
The driver of the rig wasn’t hurt, according to Onondaga police, but told them he saw the stopped car, and “immediately pulled over to the shoulder of the road in an attempt to warn other motorists travelling southbound.”
That’s when the bus plowed into the back of the tractor trailer, according to the news release.
“The bus started off in Toronto with 31 passengers on board,” said Dan Ronan, a spokesperson from Pine Hills Trailways in a telephone interview. “It made a stop in Buffalo and picked up nine passengers, changed drivers and then made a final stop in Rochester. It was supposed to arrive in New York [City] at 6:30 a.m.”
Police have said that some of the passengers are Canadian, but it is unknown how many.
The exact extent of the passengers’ injuries is unknown, according to Ronan, but 26 have been admitted to local hospitals. Emergency officials have said that all the passengers’ injuries were non-life-threatening. Some of the injuries have been described as “lower extremity injuries to chest, back and facial injuries.”
In a news release from the Onondaga County Sherriff’s office, officials said the bus driver, Kelvin Sharpe Sr. of Buffalo, N.Y., is listed in critical but stable condition and “is awaiting surgery for injuries sustained in the collision.”
Bus company officials were not releasing further details.
“The driver of the bus is a veteran driver and we are respecting his privacy,” Ronan said. “Pine Hills is fully cooperating with the authorities.”
According to the Sherriff’s release, police in Nedrow have arrested a Nedrow man and charged him with driving while intoxicated.
Robert L. Tarbell, 36, of Nedrow, was arraigned Thursday morning in the Town of Onondaga Court. The bail was set at $15,000 USD cash or bond.
Charges range from drunk driving, vehicular assault, and unsafe driving.
Upstate University Hospital received 13 patients, 11 of whom were treated and released according to the hospital’s media relations manager, Kathleen Paice Froio. Two patients have yet to be admitted.
Upstate’s Community Campus’ emergency department also treated and released four patients.
“We are very fortunate that no fatalities occurred as a result of the collision,” Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jon Seeber said.
The uninjured passengers were taken to the Regional Transportation Centre in Syracuse, where they boarded another bus to New York City.
Onondaga Nation Reserve, which Interstate 81 passes through, sent out a Tweet Thursday morning cautioning drivers to stay away from the crash site.
Traffic alert! Take it slow leaving the Nation. Bus wreck on 81 slowing things down. pic.twitter.com/DucR1qOoK8
— Onondaga Nation (@OnondagaNation) November 6, 2014
The Trailways of New York bus company was founded in 1926, and carries roughly 3,500 passengers a day. According to their website, they recently established a partnership with Greyhound to serve American and Canadian passengers.
When contacted at its Dallas, Texas head office, a Greyhound spokesperson, Ashley Sears, said in an email that while Trailways is an independent bus line that has its own services and drivers, “they do provide complementary services to Greyhound’s existing schedules and link to many of the smaller towns in our national network.”
Map by Geremy Bonodaro