3 dead after tractor-trailer smashes tour bus on I-380; bus driver identified

Runaway tractor-trailer hits tour bus head-on, killing bus driver, 2 passengers

Three people died in a crash involving a tour bus and two tractor-trailers on Interstate 380 North on Wednesday morning at mile marker 4.2, state police at Swiftwater said.
It happened at 10:07 a.m., about one mile north of the Mount Pocono exit in Coolbaugh Township.
Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal collision between a tractor-trailer and a tour bus on Interstate 380 nearTobyhanna on Wednesday. Three people were killed and more than a dozen were sent to hospitals. (David Kidwell/Associated Press)The bus driver, identified as Alfredo Telemaco , 54, of New York and two passengers on the tour bus were killed. Thirteen people were injured in the crash. Seventeen people were on the bus.
Nine patients were taken to Pocono Medical Center and four were airlifted to various hospitals for treatment.
Of the nine at PMC, eight were classified as having mild to moderate injuries.
The ninth patient was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital for additional trauma care, PMC Spokesman Geoffrey Roche said on Wednesday.
Thursday morning Roche told the Associated Press that the eight people treated for mild to moderate injuries have been released from Pocono Health System.
The others on the bus remained hospitalized, four in critical condition, according to officials at three other hospitals on Thursday.
State police identified the tractor-trailer driver as Franklin Dale Wyatt, 55, Macomb, Oklahoma. Monroe County Coroner Bob Allen said that it didn’t appear that Wyatt was severely injured.
However, state police say the investigation into the circumstance of the crash and the severity of the injuries is ongoing.
The driver of a second-tractor has been identified as Virginal Dockery, 35, of Augusta, Georgia.
Crash description
State police gave the following description of the crash.
They say that Wyatt was driving his 2007 Freightliner south on I-380 when he left the highway in an eastern direction. Wyatt’s truck entered the northbound lanes and struck a 2015 Freightliner being driving by Dockery.
After hitting Dockery’s tractor-trailer, Wyatt’s truck kept going in an eastern direction in the northbound lanes.
The tour bus’ front struck Wyatt’s trailer. After the tour bus hit Wyatt’s trailer, Wyatt’s cab continued in an eastern direction and rolled over in a wooded area.
Debris scattered
Shards of metal, glass and vehicle parts were scattered across the road, shoulder and grassy areas.
The tractor-trailer cab was about 40 feet from the spot of the crash. It lay on its side, its mangled shape stripped of its most recognizable features. A double wheel assembly, three tires attached to an axle, lay close to the cab.
Equipment and crews from the state police, Pocono Mountain Regional Police, Monroe County Coroner’s office and Pocono Mountain Volunteer Fire Company were among the 75 or so emergency responders visible at the scene.
At one point, a group of state troopers walked shoulder to shoulder through the grassy area adjacent to the road’s shoulder, searching for something. A trooper declined to say what that was.
The bus appears to have been chartered by Viaggidea, according to The Associated Press, an Italian tour operator whose name is also on the bus. The company operates tours that head from New York to Niagara Falls and Canada and elsewhere around the country. It was transporting people from Italy, Allen said.
State police said the Italian Consulate was notified on Wednesday to assit with next of kin notification.
The bus is owned by Academy Bus, a New Jersey-based company.
In a written statement, Academy Bus said it is actively engaged with local authorities in the investigation of the crash. The chartered Academy Bus left this morning at 7:30 a.m. from the New York metro area bound for Niagara Falls, and operated by an Academy Bus driver with more than a decade of experience behind the wheel.
“We can confirm that one of the deceased is the bus driver. We offer our condolences to the family of this valued member of our Academy team, as well as to the families of others tragically affected by this accident. We also extend our thoughts to the injured,” a company spokesman said in the statement.
According to its website, Academy Bus is the largest privately owned and operated transportation company in the United States, and has been serving the Northeast region for more than 40 years.
The website says the company operates charter and group tour buses all over the East Coast from operations centers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington, D.C. It also operates commuter buses from New Jersey to Manhattan and Virginia to Washington, D.C., plus scheduled casino buses to Atlantic City and Connecticut.
The tractor-trailer was owned by the Xtra Lease company, according to The Associated Press. The company’s attorney said officials did not yet know who was leasing the vehicle.
Traffic detoured
State police at Swiftwater say traffic was detoured from Interstate 380 North, which was closed from Exit 293 East and West on Interstate 80 to the crash site. All traffic is to continue east and west on I-80.
I-380 South was closed at the Tobyhanna exit. All traffic was diverted onto Route 611. I-380 didn’t fully open in both directions until 9:30 p.m.
The detours slowed transportation of Pocono Mountain School District students home from school.
PMC social workers were coordinating with patients and the bus company for discharge plans to assist with hotel rooms and transportation to their next destination, Roche said.
Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact state police at 570-839-7701.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss said the agency was aware of the crash and was monitoring it.
“We are not sending investigators at this point,” Weiss said. “What we look for are accidents that we can learn something from that could improve safety nationwide.”
In March 1990, pop singer Gloria Estefan’s tour bus crashed on the same stretch of road — Interstate 380 in Coolbaugh Township. There was snow on the road, and a tractor-trailer slid and then plowed into the rear of her bus. Estefan suffered a broken vertebra. Five other people plus the truck driver were injured in that crash.
Originally published here by the Pocono Record.
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Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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