One person was killed and at least 82 suffered injuries in three separate bus accidents including a crash of a school bus carrying children on a rural Pennsylvania road, authorities said today.
The lone fatality occurred in a head-on crash Thursday between a car and a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus in Boston's Brighton section. Police said David McGuinness, 25, of Boston, was killed when a car which he was riding apparently skidded on the rain-slicked street.
In Larryville, Pa., a school bus returning from a field trip overturned Thursday on a narrow road with a sharp curve known as 'Devil's Elbow,' injuring 60 children and parents.
A traffic jam caused by a fatal car accident on state Route 220, about 140 miles northwest of Philadelphia, prompted a parent on the bus to suggest an alternative route unfamiliar to the driver, a 'horse-and-buggy' road where the bus rolled down an embankment onto its roof, police said.
The wreck came two hours after a school bus accident in Iowa that slightly injured 22 children and the driver. The bus crashes followed a series of four fatal bus accideents that have left 32 people dead across the country since May 13.
The bus in the Pennsylvania wreck was returning to the Walnut Street Christian School in Jersey Shore after taking students and parents on a field trip to the state capital of Harrisburg, said Suzanne Conklin, a school secretary.
'After getting caught in traffic from another accident ... one parent suggested an alternative route,' state police said in a statement. 'Then while negotiating a sharp right curve, the operator lost control of the vehicle and rolled down a 50-foot embankment, coming to rest on its roof.'
Robert Chambers, general manager of the Marden's Inc. which owns the bus, described the bus driver, Robert Tennis, as experienced and said he has been with Marden's about 12 years. Chambers said he doubted Tennis would have chanced the road without prompting.
'It was not a proper road to be on,' he said.
State police said 60 people were on the bus. Twenty-four people were taken to Williamsport Hospital and 24 people were taken Divine Providence Hospital, Twelve people, including Tennis, were treated at Jersey Shore Hospital and released.
At least six of the injured were admitted, but most were treated for minor injuries and released.
Passengers Martha Conklin, 51, and James Truax, 9, were admitted to Divine Providence, hospital officials said. Williamsport Hospital admitted Sandra Grossman, 35, Kimberly Houtz, 11, Ryan Thomas, 7, and Christina Winslow, 7.
All were listed in satisfactory condition today except for Conklin, who was in guarded condition.
Most of the passengers were treated for minor injuries and released.
'It does seem to be mostly bumps and bruises,' said Diana Hunter of Williamsport Hospital. 'There were a lot of scared children.'
The youngsters on the bus ranged in age from 7 to 11.
The bus left a winding roadway between Larryville and Pine Run at about 4:50 p.m. from a curve known as 'Devil's Elbow,' careened over an embankment and rolled onto its roof, reports said.
'Apparently the driver was unfamiliar with the road. ... He didn't know the turn was there. And it appears as though he was driving too fast to negotiate the curve,' said State Trooper Alan Green.
'It's a narrow road and it's bad road,' Chambers said. 'I don't think the driver had ever been on it. If he had been on that road before, I don't think he would have taken it.
'It's something from the horse-and-buggy days, and it hasn't been improved much since then.'
The accident that led the bus to take a detour was a two-vehicle wreck that killed two women and left one woman in critical condition in Williamsport Hospital.
In Iowa, a school bus carrying 65 passengers overturned and skidded 40 feet across the road on its side. Twenty-two children and the driver suffered minor injuries and all were treated at a hospital and released.
The bus, carrying 58 students ages 10 to 12, was returning to Lowell Elementary School in Waterloo, Iowa, from a field trip to Living History Farms near Des Moines.
The driver of a pickup truck was killed in Houston last Friday when a school bus overturned and struck his vehicle. Twenty-seven people were killed near Carrollton, Ky., Saturday when a pickup truck ran into a church bus on Interstate 71.
Three people were killed Monday when a bus carrying mentally handicapped workers home from work ran off a winding road and plunged into a ravine in Clinton Corners, N.Y. A 13-year-old passenger was killed Tuesday when a city bus in Cleveland careened out of control on a downtown sidewalk.