Jennifer Edwards Baker reports:
The driver of a Greyhound bus that crashed and overturned on northbound Interstate 75 in Butler County earlier this month, injuring dozens of passengers, suffered a medical condition and passed out behind the wheel, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said today.
Charges are pending against driver Dwayne Garrett, 64, of Pleasant Ridge, said Lt. Ed Mejia of the patrol’s Hamilton post.
Those charges could be announced later this week, when the crash report also is expected to be released.
The driver’s medical condition remains unknown, Mejia said.
Test results, including blood and toxicology, are expected to take a few more weeks.
Thirty-five of the 51 passengers on the bus headed from Cincinnati to Detroit were hurt when the bus ran off the highway just north of Ohio 129 at 3:50 a.m. on Sept. 14.
All are expected to recover, including the driver who could not be immediately reached for comment today.
Greyhound officials also could not be immediately reached.
Mejia said an investigation into the crash concluded the driver was sipping hot coffee, began coughing and then passed out. No mechanical problems were found with the bus.
“I’ve choked before on liquids that wanted to go down the wrong pipe,” Mejia said. “I’ve never passed out from it, but I could see how that could happen.”
Video surveillance footage shot on the bus by Greyhound’s system and examined by investigators was inconclusive, he said.
The camera’s angle is close to the driver and produced a glare that prevented authorities from really getting a clear picture of what led up to the accident, he said.
One passenger told authorities the driver fell asleep just before the bus crashed, but that could not be verified, he added.
Garrett has been with Greyhound for 15 years and was on the job one hour at the time of the crash, the company has said.
His Ohio driving record shows he has had two speeding tickets, the last more than 10 years ago. He received a speeding ticket in Miami County in 2002 and one in Kentucky in 1999. His only other traffic offense was for not allowing an “assured clear distance,” or following too closely, in 1998 in Reading.
His commercial driving license was valid at the time of the crash.
He provided investigators a statement after the crash.