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NTSB joins investigation into bus crash that killed 3, injured 14 in Madison County

Editor's note: This story was originally published in the Belleville News-Democrat.

At least three people were killed and 14 injured early Wednesday when aGreyhound bus struck three commercial vehicles parked on the exit ramp at a Madison County rest area on Interstate 70, according to Illinois State Police.

A release states “multiple others were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, four by helicopter and at least 10 by ambulance.”

Among those seriously injured is the bus driver, according to a social media post by the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1700, which is based in Washington D.C. The union did not give the driver’s name.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Illinois State Police are investigating the accident.

The accident happened at 1:54 a.m.at the Silver Lake Rest Area, westbound Milepost 27 on I-70 near Highland. A large section on the right side of the bus and its roof were sheared off where it struck a parked semi, exposing at least seven rows of seating to the outside.

The bus was traveling from Indianapolis to St. Louis, Greyhound said.

This bus company released this statement: “We can confirm an incident occurred this morning involving Greyhound schedule number 1675 traveling from Indianapolis to St. Louis. Multiple passengers, including our driver, have been transported to the hospital. Our primary concern is ensuring we care for our passengers and driver at this time. We are working closely with local authorities and a relief bus is on the way for passengers.”

A spokesman for the bus company said he could not respond to additional questions related to the crash, the passengers, or the company’s procedures.

Dawanda Parker, 34, said she departed New York on Greyhound on Tuesday en route to her home in Los Angeles. She said she was asleep when the crash occurred. Another passenger had to help her get away from the wreckage.

“He helped me get out the busted window,” said Parker, who is traveling alone.

She said she and other passengers were treated for injuries at a local hospital and released. She said she still feels “achy.”

Greyhound offered passengers $2,500, but Parker said she declined until she could speak to a lawyer. She did accept a ticket on the next bus headed for California, which was scheduled to depart St. Louis at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Traffic was closed on Interstate 70 between Milepost 28 and 24 following the crash. A single lane was opened by 5 a.m. and traffic was moving freely in all lanes by 8:31 a.m. The rest area also reopened Wednesday morning.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is sending a team to conduct a safety investigation into the crash. The agency will hold a virtual briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The Madison County coroner’s office said it had no information regarding the identities of the victims that it could release as of 10 a.m.

The Belleville News-Democrat is a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.