A New Jersey Turnpike bus accident involving a truck and a tour bus has injured 30 people, according to reports. The accident happened around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, May 26, as a tour bus was on the turnpike traveling from New York City to Atlanta. It is not yet known what caused the accident, but officials are investigating. Passengers in this crash are lucky the injuries were not more severe, given how serious some accidents involving tour buses can be.
The bus was carrying 50 people (49 passengers and the driver) and was in the southbound lanes on the New Jersey Turnpike traveling through West Deptford Township around mile-marker 19 when the crash occurred. Some news outlets reported the bus was rear-ended by the tractor-trailer, but investigators have not confirmed those reports.
Panda Tour Bus Involved in New Jersey Turnpike Bus Accident
News reports vary on the severity of the injuries, with some suggesting there were serious injuries and others reporting all injuries were minor. What is known is that the Panda tour bus and a Performance Food Group tractor-trailer collided causing the bus to roll onto its side and into the grass next to the shoulder of the highway. Up to 34 people were taken to various area hospitals for treatment.
Among the hospitals that received patients from the New Jersey Turnpike bus accident were Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury, New Jersey, Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
Unfortunately, some injured passengers were reportedly left stranded by the accident. Some were released from the hospital but did not have their luggage or belongings with them, so they had no money or identification. One passenger told ABC News that customer service agents for the tour company informed injured patients they would have to find their own way back to New York. It wasn’t until almost 12 hours after the crash that a replacement bus was sent to New Jersey to retrieve stranded passengers and bring them back to New York.
“I’m swollen up, my suitcase is on the bus, my money dropped in the air,” said Wanda Davis, a passenger on the bus. “I was in the third seat and we flipped over and I smashed into the other chair.”
The driver of the tractor-trailer involved in the West Deptford truck accident was reportedly not injured.
Passengers Describe Tour Bus Accident
“The bus started flipping, then flipped over,” said Dwight Baylor, who was on the bus. “I fell on my back… and they were trying to help me up.”
Meanwhile, Lucy Mongy said there were two loud booms before the bus began to tip over. “And then I told my sister, who was next to me… I said, ‘Relax your muscles.’ Because, you know, they say to do that.”
Passenger Christy Worthy said she woke up when the bus flipped over and thought the bus was falling down a hill. “I didn’t think we were going to make it,” she said.
West Deptford Accident the Third Major Bus Accident in Weeks
The New Jersey Turnpike bus accident is the third major accident in two weeks involving a bus. On May 15 a charter bus carrying 30 people—including 26 children—flipped onto its side after a car that was trying to pass it lost control. Everyone on board the bus was sent to local hospitals, with one child and one adult being flown to trauma centers. One of the teachers on board the bus was reportedly in critical condition following the accident.
The bus was near Exit 89 on Route 155 in Maryland when it crashed just before 9:30 a.m. It was struck by a car, then veered off the right side of the highway, crashed into a tree and overturned on its side.
I-95 was closed in both directions while emergency workers tended to victims. The northbound portion of I-95 was reopened an hour after the crash, but southbound lanes were not reopened until around 2:00 p.m.
Only two days later a school bus crash in East Lampeter, Pennsylvania, sent 16 people to the hospital, including 14 students on the bus.
Bus Crashes a Focus for Safety Advocates
Tour bus crashes and school bus crashes happen all too frequently and can have catastrophic consequences. The recent frequency in crashes across the country has caused concerns to be raised that charter buses and school buses need enhanced safety measures to protect passengers in case of an accident.
Amongst the bus safety measures that have been called for, are proper restraints on all buses, which could prevent passengers from being ejected in a crash, and stricter rules regarding vehicle integrity.