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Archive for Monday, August 20, 2001

Sleeping driver alleged in fatal crash

Passengers on bus from Kansas City say they were ‘scared for their lives’

August 20, 2001

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— A driver lost control of a Greyhound bus, which flipped and slid into an embankment Sunday. One passenger was killed and 45 people were injured.

"Everybody was yelling at the driver because he fell asleep twice," passenger Brian Jacobs told WKRN-TV. "The bus flipped over and rolled at least two times and fell on its side and slid about two football fields."

Rescue personnel work the scene of a Greyhound Bus that crashed in
Springfield, Tenn. The bus overturned Sunday morning, killing one
passenger and injuring dozens. Passengers claim the driver had
fallen asleep.

Rescue personnel work the scene of a Greyhound Bus that crashed in Springfield, Tenn. The bus overturned Sunday morning, killing one passenger and injuring dozens. Passengers claim the driver had fallen asleep.

"Everybody was scared for their life," Jacobs said.

Kristin Parsley, spokeswoman for Greyhound said an investigation was under way. The driver was among the 45 injured, but his condition was not critical.

The bus was traveling eastbound on Interstate 24 when it drifted from the right lane to the left lane and hit a highway median, said Department of Safety spokeswoman Dana Keeton. When the bus started to slide on wet grass, the driver overcorrected to get back on the road and flipped the bus on its right side.

Mark Linder, 33, of Augusta, Ga., died when he was thrown from the bus and trapped underneath it, Keeton said.

Skid marks and paint scrapes show the bus skidded about 100 yards until it hit an overpass embankment. The bus door was ripped off its hinges and found about 75 yards from where the bus stopped. All the windows on its right side were broken. Suitcases and clothes littered the crash scene.

"The description of the crash by witnesses fits in with that (a sleepy driver) in that he drifted over, hit the soft ground and then jerked hard back to the right. But until we get that in an official capacity, I can't say for sure," Keeton said.

Results of an investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol were expected today.

Thirteen of the most critically injured were taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt Medical Hospital in Nashville, spokesman Jerry Jones said. Eight were released. Of the five left, conditions ranged from critical to fair.

The other injured passengers were taken to seven hospitals and 20 remained hospitalized Sunday afternoon.

The bus, which originated from Kansas City, Mo., left at 5:55 p.m. Saturday, said Lynn Brown, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Greyhound.

It arrived at 12:15 a.m. in St. Louis, where the driver involved in the accident was picked up. He was to take the bus to Nashville where another driver would make the trip to Atlanta, Brown said.

The bus was scheduled to arrive at 7:30 a.m. in Nashville, but was running about 30 minutes behind schedule when it crashed about 30 miles north of Nashville, she said.

The accident is the third in Tennessee this month involving a Greyhound bus.

Greyhound has set up an emergency number for family members at 1-800-972-4583.

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