Bus-truck collision in Pennsylvania leaves 3 dead, many hurt
TOBYHANNA, Pa. (AP) -- A charter bus taking Italian tourists to Niagara Falls collided with a tractor-trailer Wednesday on an eastern Pennsylvania highway, killing the bus driver and two others on the bus and leaving four people in critical condition, authorities said.
The crash occurred shortly after 10 a.m. on Interstate 380 in the Pocono Mountain region as the bus, which departed from the New York metro area, was about a quarter of the way to its destination.
The mangled front end of the bus was upright on the highway but wedged into the side of the tractor-trailer, which was sheared in half. The cab of the truck came to rest on its side in the woods next to the road, one of its axles torn off.
All three of those killed were on the bus, which had 17 passengers, Monroe County Coroner Robert Allen said.
Academy Bus identified its driver as one of the three dead. It said the driver had more than a decade of experience with the company, but it declined to provide any other information.
More than a dozen people were injured and taken to hospitals, where most were being treated for mild to moderate injuries. Allen said the truck driver didn't appear to have been severely injured.
State police said a second tractor-trailer was reported to have been involved, but investigators were trying to determine what happened.
The bus appears to have been chartered by Viaggidea, an Italian tour operator whose name is also on the bus. The company operates tours that head from New York to Niagara Falls and Canada and elsewhere around the country.
There was no answer late Wednesday at its parent company, Alpitour, in Turin, Italy. A woman who answered the phone at the company's Viaggidea offices in Milan said she knew nothing about the crash and referred comment to Alpitour.
The tractor-trailer was owned by the Xtra Lease company. The company's attorney said officials did not yet know who was leasing the vehicle.
Johnny Walsh, who lives near the highway, told WCAU-TV that he heard a loud crash and "all of a sudden people were screaming."
Pop singer Gloria Estefan suffered a broken vertebra when a tractor-trailer crashed into her tour bus on the same stretch of highway in 1990 while heading to a concert in Syracuse, New York.
The crash comes less than a month after Italian businessman Giuseppe Piras died with seven others when a speeding Amtrak train ran off the tracks in Philadelphia.
Associated Press writers Nicole Winfield in Rome and Ron Todt in Philadelphia contributed to this report.