Police probing fatal crash of Niagara Falls-bound bus, truck
TOBYHANNA, Pa. (AP) — State police are trying to determine why a tractor-trailer collided on an eastern Pennsylvania highway with a charter bus taking Italian tourists to Niagara Falls, killing the bus driver and two passengers and leaving four people in critical condition.
The crash occurred Wednesday morning on Interstate 380 in the Pocono Mountain region. The bus had departed from New York and was about a quarter of the way to its first destination when police said say it collided with a tractor-trailer that had crossed into oncoming traffic.
“People were coming out of the bus with blood on their faces, screaming and hollering,” witness Alex Duffield told WCAU-TV.
Pat Jacino, a truck driver from Easton who said he drives roads in the region daily, was one of those who stopped and rushed to help the injured.
“One lady in particular was just gushing blood from her head and cut up everywhere and saying “Help! Get me out, get me out!” he told the station. Jacino said he and another man helped lift the woman out of the wrecked bus.
The mangled front end of the bus was upright on the highway but wedged into the side of the tractor-trailer, which was sheared in half. The cab of the truck came to rest on its side in the woods next to the road, one of its axles torn off. A wide swath of grass was scraped away in the median.
Eight people treated for mild to moderate injuries have been released from the Pocono Health System, spokesman Geoffrey Roche said Thursday.
The others on the bus remained hospitalized, four in critical condition, according to officials at three other hospitals.
State police said a second tractor-trailer was involved, but they were still investigating what led to the accident.
Italian tour operator Viaggidea said 16 people were on the bus: 14 passengers, a tour guide and the driver. Police said the driver, Alfredo Telemaco, of New York City, died at the scene along with two passengers.
The bus owner, Academy Bus, said the driver had more than a decade of experience with the company.
Monroe County coroner Robert Allen said the tractor-trailer driver, a Macomb, Oklahoma, man, didn’t appear to have been severely injured.
Viaggidea spokeswoman Simona Nocifora said she did not have any information on the passengers, including where they were from in Italy.
After sightseeing in New York, the group was headed to Niagara Falls, then Toronto, Washington and Philadelphia, before returning to New York, according to an itinerary for the eight-day trip.
The tractor-trailer was owned by the Xtra Lease company. The company’s attorney said officials did not know who was leasing the vehicle.
Wednesday’s crash came less than a month after an Italian businessman, Giuseppe Piras, died with seven other people when a speeding Amtrak train ran off the tracks in Philadelphia.
State police said Wednesday night that the highway had reopened in both directions.
Pop singer Gloria Estefan suffered a broken vertebra when a tractor-trailer crashed into her tour bus on the same stretch of highway in 1990 while heading to a concert in Syracuse, New York.
Associated Press writers Ron Todt and Josh Cornfield in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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