Bowdeya Tweh reports:
Passengers on a Greyhound bus that crashed Sept. 14 in Liberty Township say there was little warning before the vehicle left the roadway and ended up on its side in a corn field.
The bus was traveling northbound on Interstate 75 when it drifted off the right side of road just north of Ohio 129 before 3:50 a.m. A crash report the Ohio State Highway Patrol released Thursday said the bus flipped several times and struck a fence and a tree before coming to a rest.
The driver, Dwayne Garrett, 64, of Pleasant Ridge, was seen slumped over prior to the crash. Garrett was cited for operating a vehicle without being in reasonable control.
“I was sleeping and next thing I know people were screaming and yelling and I realize that the bus had crashed,” said Lamar Johnson, 34, of Detroit in a statement to troopers.
Forty-four of the 51 passengers on the bus heading from Cincinnati to Detroit reported injuries to troopers, the crash report said. Emergency responders were on the scene about a minute after receiving 911 calls.
Some were ejected from the bus and Garrett had to be extricated from the vehicle after the crash.
The most serious injuries were internal injuries, broken bones and concussions, according to a first-person account from a trooper who responded to the crash. Broken glass also caused injuries to several people.
In statements provided to troopers, many of the passengers were asleep and were awakened by the commotion by the series of crash events. People who were awake yelled at the driver to correct the vehicle once it hit the rumble strips on the side of the highway.
“I am banged up but there are horrible injuries,” said Anthony Poe, 30, of Highland Park, Mich. “I was airborne for the duration of the crash. I have no clue how I made it.”
The majority of passengers – 37 – were from Michigan. Six were from Tennessee, two were from Georgia and one each was from New Jersey, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Ohio.
Earlier this week, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Ed Mejia said an investigation into the crash concluded the driver was sipping hot coffee, began coughing and then passed out. Garrett told troopers he regained consciousness when the bus was on its side.
No mechanical problems were found with the bus, which was manufactured in 1999. Weather and road surface were not factors either.
The bus was traveling at an estimated 68 mph, the report said. The freeway’s posted speed in the area is 65 mph.
Earlier this month, a Greyhound spokeswoman said Garrett had been with the company for 15 years prior to the crash. She said Garrett had been on duty for one hour at the time of the crash.
A message was left Thursday with a spokesperson from Dallas-based Greyhound Inc.
Results are not available from a blood test given to Garrett to determine whether he consumed alcohol prior to the crash.