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Three Dozen Hurt in N.J. Tour Bus Crash

February 5, 2006

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ A casino-bound tour bus slid down an exit ramp and over an embankment and rolled completely over, injuring more than three dozen people, authorities said.

Two people remained in intensive care Saturday.

The accident happened shortly before 11 p.m. Friday at a ramp off of the Garden State Parkway about 7 miles west of Atlantic City, police said. The bus was carrying 53 passengers.

``I thought we all had bought the farm,″ said passenger Mitch Kaplan, 54, of New York.

The southbound Academy Bus Lines bus did not stop at the bottom of the ramp. It crossed a street and plunged down the embankment, rolling over and coming to rest upright in a shopping plaza parking lot 25 feet below.

``It’s possible it was mechanical failure. That’s what we’re leaning toward,″ said Lt. Ted Kammer, spokesman for the Egg Harbor Township Police Department. State police were taking over the investigation Saturday.

The bus is being inspected, a state police spokesman said.

The driver, Rory Youman, 40, of New York was uninjured and had not been charged with a crime, police said. Authorities do not believe alcohol was a factor, Kammer said.

More than three dozen people were taken to hospitals for treatment of cuts, bruises and possible broken bones, authorities said. Besides the two in intensive care, eight others remained in the hospital Saturday.

Passenger Nicole Turner said the bus left Port Authority Terminal in New York around 8:30 p.m. and was bound for the Sands Casino in Atlantic City.

Turner, 29, of New York, said the driver got off the parkway after a passenger told him he missed the exit for Atlantic City. The driver lost control on the ramp and the bus rolled over and landed back on its wheels, she said.

``It was scary. I was like, Jesus, Jesus, help me,″ said Turner, who was wearing a neck brace.

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