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Bus Crash Driver Possibly Asleep

April 11, 2001

ST. MARYS, Ga. (AP) _ The driver of a charter bus that crashed last week while taking North Carolina band students to Florida may have fallen asleep, according to a preliminary report by state troopers.

School officials had said last week that a car may have cut in front of the bus, forcing the driver to swerve. Georgia State Patrol spokesman Jim Shuler said Wednesday that said a parent who was following the bus in a car confirmed that no other vehicle contributed to the accident.

The charter bus crashed Friday a mile north of the Georgia-Florida line, injuring 24 students from Massey Hill Classical High School in Fayetteville, N.C.

The bus left North Carolina just after midnight, accompanied by another bus and several parents in cars, heading to a competition in Orlando, Fla.

Students and parents have said that before the wreck, driver Darol Britt had fallen asleep across the steering wheel when the convoy stopped for a rest in South Carolina. Later in the trip, the bus also wandered outside its lane.

Eleven students were still hospitalized Wednesday morning, 10 of them in good condition and one in fair.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been investigating the charter bus company since the crash, looking at factors such as Britt’s driving history, the length of his most recent shift and bus maintenance. A Georgia agency also is investigating.

AMA Tours President Alphonso Haigler said Tuesday that the company had provided records to investigators and is fully insured.

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On the Net:

Massey Hill Classical High School: http://www.ccs.k12.nc.us/mhchs

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