A Greyhound bus will be inspected by the U.S. Department of Transportation Monday after it crashed over the weekend, injuring the bus driver and 33 of the 51 passengers on board.
The bus crashed on Interstate-75 near Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday, tumbling onto its side before landing in a cornfield. Of the 34 people injured, at least six were transported to local hospitals via helicopter, two with critical injuries. Other passengers were transported by medical emergency vehicles; none of the injuries were believed to be life threatening.
"We are very lucky," Liberty Township Fire Chief Paul Stumpf told USA Today. "The injuries are not as serious as they could have been."
The bus driver and another passenger became trapped in the bus and were forced to wait until emergency crews arrived. Causes behind the crash remain unknown. A Greyhound spokeswoman said that the 1999 model bus had undergone its routine annual inspection 14 days ago. The bus driver, who has worked with the company for more than 15 years, was on the first hour of his shift and "fully rested," spokesperson Kim Plaskett told USA.
Six passengers in addition to the bus driver remained in the hospital on Saturday afternoon. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the local sheriffs department announced that the bus would be transported to a secure location, where it will undergo additional inspection.
Outside of passing an annual checkup, the bus also underwent and passed two surprise inspections last year, Plaskett said, adding that the circumstances of the accident were unusual.
"This kind of an accident is rare," Plaskett said of the Liberty Township crash.
Steve Keppler, executive director of the Maryland-based Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, suggested that the current average age of bus drivers could be to blame for increased incidents.
"The bus driver population is on the upper bracket age-wise ... and while this is generally speaking, drivers tend not to be as healthy than other occupations as it is a sedentary sitting occupation and people can get tired," Keppler told USA. "Now I'm not saying that's what happened here, but it is a factor nationally. It is a different lifestyle and does carry a lot of stress."