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5 Killed, 4 Badly Hurt in Bus Crash

Accident: Charter was headed from Niagara Falls to Connecticut when it hit a guardrail.

June 24, 2002|From Associated Press

VICTOR, N.Y. — A charter bus crashed on a nearby state highway Sunday, killing five people, police said.

There were 44 people on board the Arrowhead Coach USA bus, which was traveling from Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Waterbury, Conn., when it crashed about 3 p.m. EDT Two other vehicles also crashed.

Ambulances and medical helicopters were on the scene on the New York State Thruway, 16 miles southeast of Rochester; 23 people were taken to a Rochester hospital.

Four were critically injured but were expected to survive, and an 18-month-old child suffered a blow to the chest but was expected to recover, State Police Maj. Mark Fischer said.

The driver, who did not appear to be seriously hurt, indicated he had a diabetic condition, which may have played a part in the accident, Fischer said.

Several passengers had asked the driver to pull over just before the crash, Fischer said. It was unclear why they asked the driver to stop. No charges have been filed in the incident.

The driver missed his exit, then the bus slammed into a guardrail. The vehicle went airborne and hit another guardrail before rolling down an embankment, State Trooper Gary Link said.

A minivan caught in the accident overturned and another car was hit by a guardrail that broke free after the bus slammed into it. Passengers in those vehicles reported only minor injuries.

By Sunday night, emergency crews were still working to lift the bus, which was on its side. The five dead were all ejected or partially ejected from the bus, Fischer said.

WTNH-TV in Connecticut reported that Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura said the bus was chartered for a group from the Church of God Prophecy there.

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