A thirteen-year-old girl was killed and twelve other passengers and the driver were injured when a Greyhound bus inexplicably veered off the highway and crashed north of Moab on New Year’s Eve. The late-night crash sent the bus across the shoulder and off the highway, ending in a deep wash about 200 feet from the road.
Three of the injured were hurt seriously enough that they had to be airlifted to hospitals. At last report, several passengers were still hospitalized with serious injuries, as was the bus driver, who remained unconscious and had skull fractures.
Initial reports were vague about the cause of the crash, but Utah Highway Patrol investigators later stated that it had been narrowed down to either a medical problem suffered by the driver or simple fatigue. The bus was travelling a late-night leg on the way to Las Vegas, and some passengers had fallen asleep before being rudely awakened by the crash.
Immediately after the crash, passengers began calling 911, and several were able to walk back to the road and flag down help. Because of the darkness and the passengers’ unfamiliarity with the area or the route, it took emergency dispatchers some time to locate the site of the accident. Several vehicles reportedly drove past injured victims trying to get their attention from the side of the road and did not bother to contact authorities.
Bus crashes are not very common: In 2015 (the last year with complete data), there were 257 reported fatal bus crashes, accounting for 295 deaths. Approximately 24,000 people were injured in incidents involving buses while another 53,000 or so collisions only caused property damage. The figures for injury and death include pedestrians and those in other vehicles in bus collisions, who are more likely than passengers to be harmed; in fact, only forty-nine of the fatalities (about one in six) were bus passengers.
That’s a very small fraction of serious traffic incidents, which have been on the rise and now injure more than 4.5 million people each year and killed more than 37,000 in 2016.
Unusual as they might be, there have been at least two other bus crashes of note in Utah recently. In November, a school bus driver was fired after he seriously damaged his bus in a minor crash but then continued driving—with children on board. Just last week, a UTA bus skidded off a snow-covered street in Ogden, taking out a tree and ending up mostly suspended off the ground. Fortunately, no passengers were injured in either incident (although the UTA driver required some medical attention).
When you or someone close to you is the victim of a bus crash, either as a bus passenger or as someone in another vehicle or as a pedestrian, you understand that this kind of accident needs to be taken seriously. At Craig Swapp & Associates, so do we.
Our experienced bus accident attorneys can give you a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your specific case. Give us a call today at 1-800-404-9000 or reach us online through the form below to schedule yours. You can also launch the chat feature from any page of this website for more information.