September 29, 2010 — A Wolf’s charter tour bus carrying 12 people crashed in Bethesda, Maryland on Wednesday afternoon, killing the driver and injuring 12 others. According to police, the mid-sized tour bus was returning to Pennsylvania from a trip to Washington D.C., when it drove off a beltway and through a guard rail. The bus then slid down a 45-foot embankment before flipping once and landing with its wheels down next to the northbound lanes of Interstate 270.
Among the passengers in the bus were six children and five adults. As of Thursday all of the children had been released from the hospital. Four adults remain in hospitals being treated for their injuries. Also injured was a woman involved in a secondary crash between two cars. That crash was caused by a light pole that was knocked down by the renegade bus. The driver of the tour bus, 66-year-old retired police officer Joseph A. Clabaugh, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators with the police and the National Transportation Safety Board have been gathering evidence and interviewing survivors of the bus crash. A full mechanical safety inspection of the bus found no violations. Investigators are now waiting on the results of Clabaugh’s final autopsy. It is unclear if Clabaugh was conscious during the crash. Survivors have told investigators that the driver was slumped over the wheel moments before the bus smashed through the guard rail.
The bus is owned by Wolf’s Bus Lines of York Springs, Pennsylvania. The charter bus service runs trips around tourist sites in the Mid-Atlantic region. According to the NTSB, a Wolf’s bus crashed in May 2008 after returning from a trip to Washington D.C. According to reports the bus, which was carrying middle-school students, was driving over the speed limit and suffered a flat tire. Thirty-nine people were injured in that crash.