Police say 18 hurt when Megabus flips on side in highway median near Indianapolis

Associated Press

A double-decker passenger bus flipped onto its side on a highway in suburban Indianapolis on Tuesday after striking a crashed car, leaving 18 people with mostly minor injuries, police said.

The bus, operated by Megabus, was traveling from Atlanta to Chicago, said Sean Hughes, spokesman for the line's parent company, Coach USA North America. It was carrying 50 to 60 people when it crashed about 4:30 a.m. on Interstate 65 in Greenwood after coming upon a car that had crashed about 10 minutes earlier, state police Sgt. Shawn O'Keefe said.

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"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.

A witness who had stopped to check on the crashed car told police the bus struck the rear of the car, a news release said. The collision sent the bus into the median and the car into a ditch.

The car's driver was among 11 people injured who complained of pain, bruises and small cuts from broken glass, police said. Seven other people also had injuries, the most serious of which was a possible broken arm.

Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis said its Level I Trauma Center received six patients from the crash. One was released after treatment and the other five were in stable condition, it said.

Most of the injured passengers were Illinois residents, and others were from Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Minnesota, according to an incomplete list released by state police. Police identified the bus driver as Randall Flowers, 37, of Illinois, and the driver of the car as 22-year-old Logan Thompson of Columbus, Indiana.

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 of other people fell on top of him. At first many passengers were screaming and crying, he said.

An inspection of the bus found no pre-existing mechanical issues, police said.

Megabus spokesman Sean Hughes said the bus had two drivers who signed on at 10 p.m. Monday and were on duty for a total of 6½ hours when the crash occurred.

The budget bus company has had other crashes in recent years. In Syracuse, New York, in 2010, the driver of a Megabus missed his exit and was using a personal GPS to find the bus station. He passed 13 low-bridge warning signs before hitting an overpass. Four people were killed.

In 2012, a blown tire was blamed in a Megabus crash that killed one passenger and injured dozens of others.

Greenwood Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Harrell said the Indiana crash could have been worse. The bus became entangled in the median's cable barrier, which likely prevented a more serious crash, he said.

Hughes said the company was assisting authorities with their investigation and working to help the passengers.