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At least 1 dead, 42 hurt in Illinois crash of Megabus

6:48 PM, Aug 2, 2012   |    comments
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  • A double-decker Megabus crashed into a bridge support on I-55 in southern Illinois Thursday afternoon. (KSDK)
  • Police told the AP they had a report a tire blew on the bus, causing it to go off the roadway into the bridge abutment. (KSDK/Twitter)
    

LITCHFIELD, IL (KSDK) -- A double-decker Megabus crashed near Litchfield, Illinois, closing Interstate 55 at mile-marker 57.

The Megabus appears to have hit a concrete pillar supporting an overpass Thursday afternoon.

Emergency crews are on the scene. At least 42 people were reported injured in the crash, some critically. Gannett St. Louis sister station KSDK says the Illinois State Police has confirmed the death of a woman in the crash.

St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, Illinois said they have received 22 patients from the crash and additional ambulances are enroute. They are said to have non-life threatening injuries. Some people suffered broken bones, and have been discharged.

Twenty more patients were taken to the community center in Litchfield.

Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Illinois has received two patients and they are expecting three more patients by air.

Susie Campbell, CEO of Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton, Illinois, said they treated three patients with non-life threatening injuries.

One person is enroute to Saint Louis University Hospital.

A passenger on the Megabus said it was coming from Chicago to St. Louis, followed by stops in Columbia and Kansas City.

Susie Campbell, CEO of Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton, Illinois, said they treated three patients with non-life threatening injuries.

One person was enroute to Saint Louis University Hospital.

Another passenger was airlifted to Barnes Jewish Hospital. That person is listed in critical condition. A spokesperson for the hospital says they are expecting one more patient transported by ground from a hospital in Litchfield.

A passenger claims the bus driver lost control of the vehicle after a tire blew.

Trooper Doug Francis with Illinois State Police said the accident happened at 1:22 p.m. He said 30 ambulances, 10 helicopters, and seven fire departments responded to the accident, and that 64 people were onboard.

Francis says the number of people injuries, and the extent of the injuries is unknown at this time.

A lane of Interstate 55 reopened in both directions at around 5 p.m. The interstate was completed opened to traffic an hour later.

Litchfield is about 55 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Megabus issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

At approximately 1:20 p.m. today a megabus.com bus struck a pillar on southbound Interstate 55 at mile marker 57, just north of Litchfield in Montgomery County, Illinois.

The bus was traveling along the Chicago - St. Louis - Columbia - Kansas City route with 81 passengers booked to be on board.

We can confirm that a few passengers suffered injuries. There has been one fatality reported at this time.

Megabus.com is working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the cause.

Safety remains our number one priority.

The thoughts and prayers of our entire staff go out to the passengers involved.

Megabus.com will continue to provide more details as they become available.

The statement goes on to say the fleet of Megabus vehicles features three-point seatbelts. Megabus drivers are required to have at least 105 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training before driving one the coaches in service, and they are given nine hours off between scheduled driving duties.

Megabus.com is a subsidiary of Paramus, N.J.-based Coach USA, which itself is a subsidiary of UK-based Stagecoach Group. At present, Megabus.com operates out of hubs in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Toronto.

It was two-and-a-half months ago a school bus crashed in the southbound lanes of I-55 near Litchfield.

Ten students from Grantfork Elementary in the Highland School District were injured.

They were on their way back from a field trip to the Illinois State Capitol May 14 when their bus rear-ended a semi in a construction zone.

Three of the students were air-lifted to St. Louis for broken bones and other injuries. All recovered.

The driver of that bus was ticketed for failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

(KSDK St. Louis)

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