ST. LOUIS—Passengers from New Jersey, Arizona and Illinois were killed when a Greyhound bus slammed into three tractor-trailers parked along an exit ramp near St. Louis, a coroner said Thursday.
Fourteen others were injured in the accident just before 2 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 70 near Highland, Illinois, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) short of the Greyhound’s destination in St. Louis. The bus, which departed from Indianapolis, was carrying about 30 people. No one on the trucks was hurt.
Madison County, Illinois, coroner Stephen Nonn said those killed were Juan Vasquez-Rodriguez, 34, of Passaic, New Jersey; Buford Paya, 71, of Supai, Arizona; and Bradley Donovan, 47, of Springfield, Illinois.
A news release from the coroner said preliminary findings show all three men died of blunt trauma from the crash. Photos and video from the scene showed the side of the bus peeled open and its roof crumpled.
Passenger Edwin Brown, 22, of Friars Point, Mississippi, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he felt the bus shake as it passed over rumble strips before the side of the vehicle “opened up like a can opener.” The driver was in and out of consciousness after the crash as Mr. Brown turned the ignition off with the help of a trucker, he said.
The driver was hospitalized in serious condition, according to a Facebook post by the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents Greyhound drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, an Illinois Republican, said an NTSB official told him the bus was equipped with monitoring cameras that investigators hope will offer some insights.
NTSB board member Tom Chapman said the presence of the trucks parked on the exit ramp “will be a part of this investigation.”
By Jim Salter