LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A Greyhound bus drove off an interstate highway in southwest Ohio early today, struck a tree and a fence and flipped on its side before sliding to a stop in a cornfield, injuring 34 people.
None of the injuries was considered life-threatening, though several people were trapped and had to be extricated by firefighters and paramedics, the state highway patrol said in a statement.
The bus drove off the right side of northbound Interstate 75 about 25 miles north of Cincinnati at about 3:50 a.m., the highway patrol said.
Butler County Emergency Operations Center officials said 34 people were taken to hospitals, six by helicopters and 28 by ambulance. The injuries ranged from minor to severe, the officials said.
The bus, which left Cincinnati bound for Detroit, was carrying 51 passengers and the driver. Those passengers who were not injured and those who were treated and released from hospitals were transported back to Cincinnati, but none of them were at the bus station later Saturday morning. The bus was a nonstop express trip to Detroit.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash, and officials said it remains under investigation. The skies were clear in the region early Saturday morning, according to National Weather Service observations.
The driver, who has been with the company for almost 15 years, had been on duty for an hour and was fully rested, said Kim Plaskett, a spokeswoman for Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc.
The driver was among the injured, but she said she could not release the person’s name or medical condition due to medical privacy laws.
Plaskett said she could not discuss any details of the crash or the possible cause. The company is cooperating with investigators and will talk to the driver to try to determine what happened, Plaskett said.
The bus just had its regular major annual inspection 14 days ago, Plaskett said. She said drivers also do pre-trip inspections to make sure a bus is fit to travel.
Greyhound sent a crisis-response team to the site to help the customers and authorities as soon as the company was notified of the crash, she said.
A telephone hotline was set up for friends and family members seeking information about the passengers on the bus. The phone number is 800-972-4583.