Dozens injured as school bus flips on I-95

July 06, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON | JUSTIN FENTON,SUN REPORTER

A school bus carrying nearly 60 children from Philadelphia flipped and crashed yesterday afternoon on Interstate 95 near Aberdeen while returning from a trip to the National Aquarium, injuring nearly everyone - at least two seriously - and snarling traffic on the congested highway for hours.

One child's hand was severed when it was caught under the overturned bus, said Rich Gardiner, a spokesman for Harford County Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

State police said the bus, driven by an 18-year-old man, and a truck tractor sideswiped each other in the northbound lanes north of Maryland House about 5 p.m. The bus swerved into the median and back across traffic lanes, flipped onto its left side and came to rest facing south on the shoulder.

A Johns Hopkins Hospital spokesman said six children were brought there, including two by ambulance, only as a precautionary measure. Four were flown to the hospital by helicopter; two of them were listed in good condition and the others in serious condition, the spokesman said.

Many more were treated at five other hospitals from Baltimore to Christiana Del., and all were released, police said.

Miles-long backups ensued as I-95 was closed around the site - the southbound lanes until 7:40 p.m. and northbound until 10 p.m., police said.

The bus was one of six shuttling children from a Norris Square Civic Association program at Hunter School in Philadelphia, police said.

Another bus driver in the convoy, James McLean, 45, said some of the children were thrown from the bus and that parents from others buses rushed to pull other children out.

"Everyone was hollering and screaming - it was a madhouse," McLean said. "People attacked the driver [of the crashed bus] because they thought he could have prevented it."

The man who had driven the overturned bus declined to comment. He was seen nursing his left shoulder as troopers questioned him.

Police said last night that he had a Pennsylvania commercial driver's license. His name, and that of the 41-year-old driver of the Cowan Systems truck tractor from Baltimore, were not released last night.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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