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Philip B Friedman | Andrew J. Conner | Steven E. "Tim" Riley, Jr. | William P. Weichler

Bus driver charged with carelessness in I-90 Erie County crash

A dozen people were injured in an Erie County bus accident recently. Investigators said none of the injuries to the 11 passengers or the bus driver was severe.

According to reports, the Greyhound bus struck the rear end of a slower moving truck hauling construction materials on Interstate 90. The commercial vehicle collision sent the bus into a ditch. The bus driver was charged with careless driving for causing the truck accident near Interstate 79.

Firefighters reported that crews worked for an hour and a half to free the bus driver from the crushed front end of the bus. The 24-year-old flatbed operator was not injured.

According to McKean County authorities, the driver and other injury victims were transported to UPMC Hamot. Uninjured passengers were taken to a McKean Catholic church to await a different Greyhound bus to take them to New York.

The trip began in Cleveland with 26 passengers about two hours before the Erie County crash.

Investigators said the bus was cruising at 65 mph along the eastbound right lane of Interstate 90 when it hit the truck. Officials said the flatbed was traveling about 15 mph slower than the bus at the time.

Police charged the 48-year-old bus driver with a summary offense. The difference between careless driving and reckless driving charges in Pennsylvania is the driver's intent. Reckless drivers purposefully disregard others' safety while careless drivers do so without the intention of hurting anyone.

Negligence used as evidence in a personal injury does not have to come from malicious intent. In fact, damages may be sought in civil court even when no criminal charges are brought against an at-fault driver.

Victims of injury bus accidents may collect damages through settlements or jury awards from multiple defendants. A driver, the employer who hired the driver and sometimes a truck leasing company or vehicle manufacturer can be named as defendants in a civil case.

Source: goerie.com, "Twelve injured in Greyhound bus crash on I-90," Tim Hahn, Jan. 18, 2013

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