Blown Tire Blamed For Deadly Megabus Accident Downstate
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UPDATED 08/03/12 9:23 a.m.
LITCHFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Megabuses were running as usual Friday morning, a day after a packed double-decker bus from Chicago crashed into a bridge downstate and left a woman dead.
As CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports, it turned out the Thursday crash was not the first on the Chicago Megabus route.
The Megaebus was on its way to St. Louis to make a stop, when it crashed about 60 miles away from the city, near downstate Litchfield, Ill.
One person died in the crash. Illinois State Police identified the victim as passenger Aditi R. Avhad, 25, of India, a dental graduate student who attended the University of Missouri in Columbia.
At least 10 people remained seriously or critically injured Friday morning.
State police say more than 70 people were on board when the bus crashed into a concrete bridge support along Interstate 55
Investigators believe a blown tire led to the accident.
On Friday morning, several people were getting ready to board the Megabus to Minneapolis at Union Station, many of them first-time riders. They had some concerns after the accident.
“I’m going to get on the bus, but let’s hope it gets to our destination safe,” said Deborah Keller.
“You know, I think it’s a fairly safe bus and everything. I haven’t heard of any past crashes, but I was concerned after I heard about what happened yesterday; whether it was driver fault or mechanical fault,” said Rosemary Johnson.
Earlier, those on the bus described the chaos that took place in the moments after 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.”
CBS 2 also looked into the history of Megabus, and learned in the past two years, Chicago Megabus has had six crashes with at least four injuries.
“She took her ear phones out that were tangled and she tried to untangle them,” Walton said in a Skype interview. “Then she got her I phone out and she said, ‘I have to have my music.’”
The driver took her eyes off the road and took a hand off the wheel, she says.
Walton took a photograph of the driver’s trainer, who was sleeping, and woke him up to complain.
“He looked at me and the trainer said, ‘She’s fine,’” Walton said.
“It was horribly frightening,” she said of the experience. “I had my girlfriend’s child and my child on there. There were senior citizens on there.”
Megabus has a satisfactory rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. But in the past two years, Chicago Megabus has had six crashes with at least four injuries.
New Jersey Megabus had seven crashes. That includes one wreck that killed four passengers after a bus slammed into a bridge near Syracuse, N.Y.
The bus from the Thursday crash was ultimately headed to Kansas City, and was also scheduled to make a stop in Columbia, Mo.