Tour Bus Crash in New York Injured At Least 30 Canadian Tourists, Killed One

Tour Bus Crash in New York Injured At Least 30 Canadian Tourists, Killed OneA massive crash between a tour bus and a tractor trailer in New York State ended in the deaths of at least 30 tourists on board the tour bus, reports The Associated Press. Investigations will open to determine the bus’ speed when it crashed and its location when hit.

Early on Friday, July 22, a Farr’s Coach Lines bus traveling between Ontario and New York City was hit from behind by 59 year-old Timothy Hume in his truck of Matrix Expedited Services in Flint, Michigan.

Hume died in the crash. The bus burst into fire, which then overtook both vehicles, according to the news source.

The Hamilton Spectator reports that a total of 52 passengers made it out of the bus alive shortly after the 1:30 a.m. crash near Junius, which is southeast of Rochester. Of the 40 passengers taken to seven hospitals, 30 people were treated for injuries. The accident scene was one of complete panic, in which passengers broke bus windows to escape. They ran across the highway barefoot as explosions wracked the bus and truck behind it.

The bus was merging onto the New York State Thruway after experiencing mechanical problems, The Associated Press notes. State police said that the bus had emergency flashers on. Precisely how the crash and hit occurred is as yet undetermined.

Speaking to the news outlet, trooper Mark O’Donnell said, “It probably wasn’t up to speed. That’s what we’re looking at right now. We’re not sure if the bus was totally in the right lane or in the shoulder.”

Disturbing footage of the crash shows a bus’ charred remains. The rubber tires were burned off, and the tractor-trailer behind the bus is not recognizable. The bus had been recently inspected in Canada, reports the news source.

Driver René Bisson has a valid Canadian driving license – but had his license to drive in New York suspended. He received a ticket for driving with a suspended license. Police state that the 52 year-old Bisson didn’t file paperwork to get his license reinstated after he paid fines for two speeding tickets incurred in 2003 and 2006, according to the news outlet. The Hamilton Spectator reports that Bisson could face up to a month in jail and a $1,500 fine.

On board were employees of a Canadian insurance company along with their families, all from Ontario. They ranged from ages 15 to 72 years old, reports The Associated Press.

The American Timothy Hume had a clean driving record, according to the Michigan Department of State.

In an unlikely twist to the story, a member of the U.S. military was key to survival of several bus passengers. Upon seeing the crash, Sergeant Jacob Perkins, a soldier from Fort Drum, New York, pulled his car over. He ran into the burning bus to rescue passengers, according to the news source.

State police major Mark Koss said, “it says a lot about Sergeant Perkins and our people in the military that he’s going to take action, and we’re very fortunate he did.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 7,800 people are injured in motorcoach crashes each year.