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Truck, Bus Accident Causes Two Deaths, 12 to 16 injuries

September 13, 1986

SILVERTON, Colo. (AP) _ A tour bus and a tractor-trailer collided on a curve at the base of a mountain pass Friday, killing two people and injuring 14 others, three critically, authorities said.

The accident occurred about 12:30 p.m. on U.S. 550 at Molas Pass, just south of Silverton, a mining and tourist town in the San Juan mountains, said Melody Skinner, a dispatcher for the San Juan County sheriff’s office.

The injured were taken to Durango, Silverton and Montrose, Skinner said.

Witnesses said the truck was coming down the pass toward Silverton, its brakes smoking, when the driver apparently lost control and the vehicle turned on its side, sliding into the bus, which was carrying guests from Tamarron, a resort area north of Durango.

The bus landed on its side against the hill.

The bus had 14 passengers who had ridden from Durango to Silverton on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. train, which makes the trip twice daily, said Bill Sagesser, general manager of the Tamarron.

Between 50 and 60 employees of the company, identified as J. W. Bateson & Co. Inc. of Dallas, a construction company, were visiting the resort, Sageser said.

Others - including three of the corporate heads - had opted to ride the train back to Durango from Silverton rather than ride on the bus, he said.

The state patrol was still at the accident scene more than seven hours after the collision and had not filed a report on their investigation, a dispatcher said.

Four of the passengers were treated and released at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, and eight others were hospitalized there, three in critical condition, two in serious condition and three in good condition. Two were admitted in good condition at Montrose Memorial Hospital

Neither of the dead was identified pending notification of relatives. A hospital spokesman said they were the bus driver and a passenger.

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