DONEGAL (KDKA) –- An accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike left one person dead and at least 24 others injured Monday morning in Westmoreland County.
According to Turnpike officials, a tour bus rear-ended a flatbed truck near mile marker 95 in Donegal Township around 7:20 a.m. The bus had left Louisville, Ky., around midnight and was traveling to New York City.
The driver of the bus was killed in the accident. Authorities have identified him 39-year-old Bo Hua Tan of New York.
Nearly 40 of the passengers spent Monday waiting outside of a rest stop in Somerset County after the bus the crashed.
“We just heard a noise, ‘bam,’ big noise,” said Isha Low, one of the passengers. “So, everybody [woke] up, screaming and see that our bus hit a truck.”
Passengers were afraid the bus would catch fire, so they broke a window and began jumping for their lives.
“Everybody was jumping and we start getting hurt – some people knee, some people legs, some people faces and stuff like that,” Low said.
More than 20 passengers were taken to area hospitals. The other nearly 40 passengers were taken to a rest area where translators helped them tell state police about the crash while they waited for a new bus to take them to their destination.
The bus was owned by Mister Ho Charter Service and operated by New Oriental Tours.
According to the Department of Transportation, New Oriental Tour Company has had eight violations in the last three months, resulting in four buses being taken out of service. The company’s safety management score is “satisfactory but barely above the threshold.”
The American Bus Association says New Oriental Tours has been cited for serious violations including speeding, driver fatigue, falsifying driver logs and vehicle maintenance.
The ABA also says the company’s record indicates that they do not maintain buses, but rather operate them until they fail.
The road was reopened around 12:30 p.m.