Greyhound bus accident injures 29

SAFETY: Police say driver fatigue factor in wreck that shut down I-65 for hours
2008-06-04T00:00:00Z Greyhound bus accident injures 29BILL DOLAN
June 04, 2008 12:00 am  • 

CROWN POINT | Indiana State Police said driver fatigue was a factor in the Tuesday morning crash of a Greyhound bus on Interstate 65 that injured 29 passengers. (Video)

Ann Wojas, a state police spokeswoman, said Tuesday none of the injuries was life-threatening.

The accident closed the southbound lanes of I-65 north of U.S. 231 for several hours, forcing truck traffic onto Broadway and other north-south routes and tying up traffic in Merrillville and Crown Point.

Geraldine Jefferson, of Milwaukee, one of the 42 passengers who was standing on the pavement waiting for medical attention, said, "I was sitting next to the driver, and I believe he fell asleep."

Police identified the driver as Darren P. Duke, 46, of Indianapolis. Police said they didn't issue any traffic citations Tuesday against Duke.

Kim Plaskett, a spokeswoman for Greyhound Lines Inc., said the driver, who has been with Greyhound for 18 years and has a good driving record, is being placed on nondriving status until the company completes an investigation.

Police said a preliminary investigation indicates the bus was in the outer right lane when it drifted off the pavement and onto a soft gravel shoulder, where it fishtailed.

Police said the driver overcorrected, and the bus overturned onto its passenger side, sliding across both southbound lanes and coming to rest against the center barrier, which prevented it from careening into oncoming traffic.

Douglas Judy, 46, of DeMotte, said Tuesday he was driving north on I-65 when the accident took place in front of him.

"The driver just appeared to lose control because there wasn't any car in front or in back of him. It was going at such a high speed, it was airborne. I thought it was coming over the wall at me," Judy said.

Emergency teams from Crown Point, Merrillville, St. John, Lake of the Hills, Lowell, Lakes of the Four Seasons, Hobart and Schererville arrived within minutes of the crash.

Ambulances transported the injured to St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point, Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.

Elise Sims, marketing manager for St. Mary's, said its staff treated 13 individuals for minor cuts, scrapes and bruises.

Joe Dionovic, a spokesman for St. Anthony, said 16 passengers were treated there. He said one had been admitted for observation, five still were being examined Tuesday afternoon in the hospital's emergency room. The rest were treated and released.

Amber Raza, a spokeswoman for Methodist, said the hospital received 12 injured and three were admitted to the hospital and reported in good condition. She said the rest had minor injuries.

Ela Smith, of Chicago, said she was in a rear seat with her 3-year-old son, Malik, when "the bus just started to turn, and we were thrown on the floor."

Plaskett said the bus left Chicago on Tuesday morning and was headed to Nashville, Tenn. Its last stop before the accident was in Gary. It had been scheduled to stop in Lafayette and Indianapolis.

Greyhound sent a relief bus to pick up passengers who were not injured, Plaskett said.

Times staff writer Christine Kraly contributed to this report.

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