GREEN RIVER, Emery County — A 13-year-old California girl died late Sunday and a dozen others were hospitalized when a bus they were traveling in went off the freeway and crashed into a steep wash.
All but one of the 13 passengers on the Greyhound bus suffered injuries in the crash, as well as the driver.
Summer Pinzon, of Azusa, California, perished in the crash, the Utah Highway Patrol reported. The 13-year-old was traveling with her mother, who was among the injured and remained hospitalized Monday.
The bus was traveling west on I-70 from Denver to Las Vegas. About 11 p.m., the bus went off of the right shoulder of the freeway near the Devil's Canyon view area, down into a steep wash and came to rest about 200 feet off of the interstate, the UHP reported.
Some of the passengers crawled back up to the freeway to get help.
"There were no witnesses that saw the bus go off the highway. Some of the passengers came back up to the interstate and flagged down a truck driver," said UHP Lt. Steve Salas.
Pinzon was pronounced dead at the scene. The bus driver and two passengers were seriously injured and were taken by medical helicopters to hospitals in Grand Junction, Colorado, and Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, according to the UHP.
Photos from the scene show the shredded bus parked crosswise across the ravine, with debris scattered in the brush nearby.
"All of the other passengers except one suffered various injuries and were transported by ground ambulance to hospitals in Price and Richfield," a UHP trooper wrote in a report.
Most suffered neck and back injuries. A few suffered broken bones and one a skull fracture.
The names of the other victims, including the girl's mother, have not yet been released.
"It appears the bus drifted off the shoulder — doesn't look like there was much braking at all, so we are still investigating at this point," Salas said.
UHP's accident reconstruction team was on site most of the day Monday. Investigators say there was a video recording system on the bus and they will review the footage to see what may have led to the crash.
One passenger reported that the driver may have suffered a medical issue.
Emergency crews from several cities and towns rushed crash victims to the hospitals, the Emery County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.1 comment on this story
"An accident of this magnitude can easily overwhelm local resources," the sheriff's office said, adding it was grateful to the first responders for "helping the victims of this terrible accident." The teams came from Green River, Huntington, Richfield and Orangeville, among other areas.
Investigators with the UHP were interviewing victims at hospitals and gathering evidence at the scene, with the National Safety Transportation Board also set to review the crash. An inspection of the bus is expected to take place Tuesday.
Contributing: Sam Penrod, Annie Knox