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1 dead, 66 hurt in Ky. bus crash

06-26-07jemshp-bus

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. A bus carrying people home from a family reunion crashed on an interstate in southern Kentucky early Monday while passengers were asleep, killing one person and injuring 66 others, officials said.

Police said it appeared the driver had dozed off. State Police Trooper Steve Pavey said the bus veered off the right side of the highway, struck a concrete culvert and stopped when it rammed a concrete bridge pillar.

Four people suffered critical injuries, said Randy Fathbruckner, director of emergency medical services at The Medical Center in Bowling Green. The woman who died was ejected from the bus, Pavey said.

The bus had been rented by a family returning to Alabama from a reunion in Buffalo, N.Y., said Clarence Williams, president of C & R Tours. Pavey said the reunion was at Niagara Falls, near Buffalo.

Warren County Coroner Kevin Kirby said the crash happened about 4:20 a.m. EDT. The front of the bus was crushed against the concrete pillar and children's luggage was scattered around the vehicle.

Pavey said there were 65 passengers and two drivers on the bus.

"Most everyone was asleep on the bus at the time of the crash," Pavey said. No other vehicles were involved, he said.

Pavey said there was no early indication of possible criminal charges.

He said two passing motorists stopped and helped people off the bus after the crash.

The bus crashed near the 42-mile marker on Interstate 65, about 75 miles north of Nashville, Tenn., Kentucky State Police dispatcher Daniel Priddy said.

Williams did not immediately return calls seeking additional comment.

The company had a satisfactory safety rating when it was last reviewed in March, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It had not reported any accidents or injuries in the last two years.

The injured were taken to various hospitals. Two adults and two children were flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Fathbruckner said. Fifty-two of the injuries were considered urgent and 10 were considered minor, Fathbruckner said.

Six of the 14 victims taken to T.J. Samson Community Hospital in nearby Glasgow had been released, spokesman Bart Logsdon said.

The driver who was operating the bus at the time of the crash was among those in critical condition, Pavey said.

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