Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

May 25, 2013

16 hurt in shuttle bus crash near Atlanta airport

COLLEGE PARK — Sixteen people were taken to the hospital Friday, at least two in serious condition, after they were hurt in a crash between a hotel shuttle bus and a tractor-trailer near Atlanta’s airport, officials said.

At about 10 a.m. College Park police received calls about the crash on the road that loops around the world’s busiest airport. It appears the shuttle struck the side of a tractor-trailer that was attempting a U-turn on the divided road, Sgt. Keith Stanley said.

The front of the bus was badly damaged. The windshield was cracked and the engine block was smashed in and seriously damaged.

All 16 people on the bus were taken to area hospitals. Originally, a fire official said it was 18. The driver of the bus suffered multiple broken bones and had to be pulled from the wreckage by rescuers, Stanley said. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening, he said.

A Grady Memorial Hospital spokeswoman said emergency personnel there are treating 10 people, eight with minor injuries and two serious. The other victims were taken to Atlanta Medical Center.

One passenger suffered a collapsed lung and another suffered fractures to both shoulders, Leon Haley, chief of emergency medicine at Grady Hospital, said at a press conference. He added the passengers with lung and shoulder injuries would likely be held overnight and the other eight would likely be released Friday.  

Police weren’t immediately releasing the names of the drivers or passengers.

Investigators had not had a chance to interview those on the bus because they were quickly taken to area hospitals, Stanley said. He did not know whether the bus was equipped with seat belts and, if so, whether passengers were wearing them. But based on the injuries, Stanley said it appears passengers were not wearing them.

“I don’t believe any of the passengers were wearing seat belts on the shuttle bus, so they were all thrown,” he said.

Marks on the road indicate the bus skidded about 158 feet immediately before the impact, he said.

“The vehicle was traveling at a good rate of speed,” he said.

Stanley says it wasn’t immediately clear whether any traffic laws were violated. He said the investigation will likely take several weeks.

Atlanta Fire Rescue Department spokeswoman Janet Ward said the bus served Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn and Hilton hotels and was headed to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport. The shuttle was operated by MTI Limos, according to markings on the bus. A call to the operations manager of the company was not immediately returned.

Shuttles are a common sight at the airport. The buses are operated by hotels and off-airport parking services.

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