Greyhound Bus, Two Trucks Collide, Leaving Seven Dead
EMORY, Utah (AP) _ A tractor-trailer collided Tuesday with a Greyhound bus and a truck on an icy highway, killing seven people and injuring 41, authorities said.
Seventeen people were hospitalized, four in critical condition, after the 9 a.m. accident on Interstate 80 near the Wyoming line.
The bus, en route to Chicago from Salt Lake City, had more than 40 passengers. Greyhound dispatcher Bill Moore said he could not provide an exact count.
All of the dead were passengers on the bus, said sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Berry. The bus driver and one of the truck drivers were among the injured.
At the crash scene, coats, luggage and other debris were strewn around the bus, which lay on its right side. Frozen hams from one of the trucks also littered the highway.
Berry said authorities searched luggage for clues to passengers’ identities.
A witness, Blaine Whimpe of Morgan, Utah, said a westbound truck apparently slid into the eastbound lanes, colliding with a second truck and the bus. The bus turned on its side, he said.
″I could see the bus. There were people up on top of the bus pulling people out. Everybody that came out of the bus that I had seen was hurt, broken arms, legs, cuts,″ Whimpe said. ″They were just all moaning and groaning and freezing. They wanted a warm place to get into.″
Whimpe described the road condition as ″terrible.″
The Highway Patrol siad the roads were extremely icy, with winds gusting to near 30 mph and falling snow making driving treacherous. The National Weather Service estimated that visibility in the area at three-quarters of a mile.
The injured were taken to Evanston Regional Hospital in Wyoming, 10 miles from the accident, where 14 people were admitted, including a woman in critical condition, said spokeswoman Janet Kolb.
Three others with head injuries were flown to Salt Lake, one to LDS Hospital and two to the University of Utah Medical Center. All remained in critical condition late Tuesday, nursing supervisors said.
Passenger Stuart Palmer of Buffalo, N.Y., said the bus driver could do nothing after one of the trucks slammed into the left side of the bus, forcing it off the road and down a 35-foot embankment.
Palmer was released from the hospital with a broken ankle and a bruised knee.
The accident closed both eastbound and westbound I-80 from Evanston to Silver Creek Junction, Utah, for five hours.
In Washington, the National Transportation Safety Board said it was dispatching a team of investigators to look into the accident.
Greyhound officials were also dispatched to Emory, Moore said, but he declined further comment until a report was filed by the company’s representatives at the scene.
The Wyoming Army National Guard armory in Evanston was opened for passengers on the bus who had nowhere to go.
The Utah Highway Patrol set up a hotline for families of accident victims, said Sgt. Gary Whitney. The number is 801-965-4518.
Last week, twelve people died in an 83-car pileup on a foggy stretch of Interstate 75 near Chatanooga, Tenn. More than 50 people were injured.