INDIANAPOLIS — A double-decker passenger bus flipped onto its side on a highway in suburban Indianapolis on Tuesday after apparently swerving to avoid an earlier crash, badly injuring one person and hurting more than a dozen others, officials said.
The bus, operated by the Megabus line, was traveling from Atlanta to Chicago, said Sean Hughes, a spokesman for the line's parent company, Coach USA North America. It was carrying between 50 and 60 people when it crashed about 4:30 a.m. on Interstate 65, when the driver apparently tried to avoid the accident that had occurred about 10 minutes earlier, state police Sgt. Shawn O'Keefe said.
"The driver apparently didn't see it because of the rain or something and swerved to avoid it," O'Keefe said. "The bus driver swerved and ended up turning the bus over on its side, and it went into the median."
The roadway was wet from overnight storms and some light rain continued in central Indiana about the time of the crash in Greenwood, a southern Indianapolis suburb.
Greenwood Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Harrell told reporters at the scene that one person was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while four people had moderate injuries and 14 had minor injuries. He said about 35 uninjured passengers were being taken by a city bus to a nearby hospital as a precaution and to regroup.
Passenger Devin David, 31, of Louisville, Kentucky, said he was half asleep on the bus' upper level when the crash happened.
"I was able to put my head down and brace myself for impact before it turned over," he said. "I felt it swerve, I felt it lose control, so I was able to get down in a pretty safe position."
David said the bus landed on the side where he was sitting and a couple other people fell on top of him. He said one of those passengers hit his head during the crash and he saw others with apparent broken bones and cuts. David said at first many passengers were screaming and crying and it took several minutes for him to get out of the bus, by which time emergency crews had arrived.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of the highway were closed for a time while crews removed the injured people and worked to clear the wreckage. The northbound bus became entangled in the median's cable barrier, which likely prevented a more serious crash, said Harrell, the fire department official.
"They absolutely saved this bus from veering off into the southbound traffic, Harrell said.
Hughes said the company was assisting authorities with the crash investigation and working to help the passengers involved.