1 Dead After Double-Decker Megabus Crashes Downstate
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Updated 08/02/12 – 5:24 p.m.
LITCHFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — One person was killed and dozens of others were injured when a double-decker Megabus headed from Chicago to Missouri crashed into a concrete bridge support in southern Illinois.
Megabus officials said the bus hit a pillar on Interstate 55 at mile marker 57 near Litchfield around 1:20 p.m. Thursday. Litchfield is about 50 miles south of Springfield.
One person died in the crash. State police identified the victim as passenger Aditi R. Avhad, 25, of India. At least two dozen others were hurt, some of them critically.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
Illinois State Police Trooper Mike Link said, “Initial reports are saying that it was possibly a tire blowout which caused the crash.”
Passenger Zaq Hall told WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller he heard a tire blow out.
“And I knew what (that) sounded like because on my ride up to Chicago two days ago (from Kansas City), there was a tire that went on that bus also. Same front tire,” Hall said.
Hall said it was “a really huge collision, and when I kind of came to my senses, I looked around and it was horrible. There were people in the aisles, laying there. Most people had some sort of blood on their face. It was pretty intense.”
Megabus said in a written statement more than 70 passengers were on the bus. The vehicle was manufactured in 2011 and had a maintenance check within the past week.
Illinois State Police said 30 Ambulances, five Helicopters and seven different fire departments responded to the crash from Montgomery, Macoupin, Sangamon, Christian, and Madison Counties.
The bus originated in Chicago, and was headed for St. Louis, then Columbia, Mo., then Kansas City, Mo.
Some of the passengers who were unhurt were taken to a community center in Litchfield, and the director of that center, Lynette Jones, said those passengers are pretty shaken up, “physically and emotionally.”
“We’re trying to get them stable,” she said.
In a statement, Megabus officials said, “The thoughts and prayers of our entire staff go out to the passengers involved.”