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Pennsylvania crash results in 11 bus passengers and 1 driver hurt

A passenger bus crashed in Northwest Pennsylvania recently sending 12 people to an Erie County hospital. Among the people injured in the car accident was the 48-year-old bus driver, whom rescue crews spent more than an hour trying to remove from the wreckage.

Authorities investigating the vehicle accident on Interstate 90 near McKean said none of the injured -- 11 of 26 initial passengers plus the driver -- was badly hurt. Police determined that the Greyhound bus driver caused the highway crash.

Reports said the Greyhound bus boarded passengers in Cleveland about 5 a.m. and proceeded eastbound through Pennsylvania on the way to New York. Two hours later the bus crashed into the rear of a trailer truck with a flatbed full of building materials.

Investigators reported the loaded truck was moving along the right lane of the highway a few miles west of Interstate 79 at about 50 mph. The bus behind the flatbed was doing about 65 mph when it struck the trailer.

The collision sent the bus off the highway into a shallow ditch. More than half the bus passengers and the truck driver escaped harm. The rest of the bus's occupants were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Uninjured passengers were placed in a church until a second Greyhound bus arrived.

Authorities issued a careless driving citation to the bus driver. The summary offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and, with injury accidents, possible fines. "Careless disregard" of people and property is not the same as "willful or wanton disregard," which defines a charge of reckless driving.

Criminal penalties for careless driving are relatively light. Civil courts may take a different view. A jury could order a negligent driver to pay substantial damages to plaintiffs to cover economic losses. Personal injury attorneys review accident cases to help victims decide whether to seek a settlement or jury trial.

Source: goerie.com, "Twelve injured in Greyhound bus crash on I-90," Tim Hahn, Jan. 18, 2013

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Gregory R. Gifford
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