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Bus Accident on I-70 Injures 21 Passengers

Sun Advocate reporter

Emery County ambulances stand by at Castleview Hospital in Price after delivering patients injured in Tuesday's Greyhound bus accident on I-70. Officialsindicate 13 passengers were brought to the local medical facility for treatment. All patients but one were released with minor injuries.

A Greyhound Bus transporting 34 passengers flipped over on Interstate 70 at about 8:25 a.m. on Tuesday.

The March 9 accident blocked the eastbound lanes on I-70 for more than five hours.

Shortly after the single-vehicle mishap occurred, eastbound traffic was diverted off the freeway at Fremont Junction.

Detoured motorists were directed to travel north on Utah State Road 10 through Price and proceed to Green River on U.S. Highway 6.

The bus was removed from the roadway at approximately 1:30 p.m. after law enforcement authorities completed the preliminary investigation at the accident scene.

According to the Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Steve Esplin, 21 people riding on the bus were injured in the mishap, some seriously. Later reports, however, indicated that a few more had been hurt and transported to various medical centers.

"At this point, no one has life-threatening injuries," noted Esplin on Tuesday.

Reports issued later in the day confirmed that there appeared to be no fatalities or near fatalities stemming from the accident.

The bus purportedly weaved and flipped onto the vehicle's right side, skidding across the two eastbound lanes.

Esplin confirmed that driver fatigue was suspected to be a contributing factor in the accident.

The driver reportedly told investigators he had apparently blacked out or fallen asleep when the bus drifted to the right shoulder of the freeway.

After reviving or awakening, the Greyhound driver reportedly overcorrected to the left and the bus tip.

The Greyhound operator incurred minor injuries in the mishap.

A number of injured passengers were transported for treatment to Castleview Hospital by Emery County ambulances.

A few victims were also taken to the medical clinic in Green River by the ambulances.

Differing reports released on Tuesday listed from nine to 12 people as being transported to the hospital in Price.

But on Wednesday morning, Castleview officials clarified the numbers.

"Thirteen people were brought in by ambulance on Tuesday," said Terri Watkins, chief nursing officer. "Twelve were treated and released. One was admitted and is still here this morning."

Two to five seriously injured people traveling on the bus were transported by air to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, arriving at the facility slightly more than an hour after the accident.

A few victims injured in the Greyhound accident were also transported by ground to the Colorado medical facility.

The mishap occurred about halfway between Fremont Junction and Green River.

By the time UHP troopers arrived at the scene and ascertained the extent of the damage, eastbound traffic had started to back up on I-70.

Traffic was not diverted until almost 9:30 a.m. The re-routing caused unusually heavy traffic to travel on SR-10.

A number of delayed motorists opted to wait for the road to open at Fremont Junction rather than take the long detour, according to emergency personnel assisting at the scene.

The bus was scheduled to stop in Green River, 30 miles east of the accident site, and the operator was within established driving regulations.

Federal Motor Carrier Administration regulations specify that drivers transporting passengers cannot remain behind the wheel for more than 10 hours following an eight-hour off-duty period.

The Greyhound bus reportedly left Las Vegas, Nev. at 1 a.m. and later stopped in Beaver. After stopping in Green River, the bus headed directly toward Denver.

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