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Passenger stops bus on I-15 after driver loses consciousness

(Utah Highway Patrol)

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OREM — A passenger on a Greyhound bus made an emergency stop on northbound I-15 near Orem when the driver suffered a medical episode Friday morning, officials said.

The passenger noticed the driver was beginning to lose consciousness and got in the driver's seat before pulling the bus over to the left shoulder and stopping directly behind a trooper's vehicle about 7:15 a.m., Utah Highway Patrol trooper Colton Freckleton said.

The bus hit the concrete barrier on the side of the freeway while pulling over, but there was no serious damage, Freckleton said. The bus was still blocking both the carpool and adjacent lanes, however, and significantly slowed traffic in the area.

Once the bus stopped, several passengers who had become scared got out onto the freeway.

"There was panic at the beginning," Freckleton said.

Even when a Utah Transit Authority bus driver arrived to move the bus off the freeway, some passengers were still reluctant to get back on, according to Freckleton.

The driver who suffered a medical episode was transported to a hospital and is recovering, though troopers are unsure what the issue was, Freckleton said.

"We're lucky to have a passenger that was able to step up and take care of the driver and pull the bus to the side and get help," Freckleton added.

Of the 23 passengers on board, only one sustained a minor injury, according to Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker.

The bus was moved off the freeway and all lanes were clear by about 8:15 a.m., Freckleton said. Greyhound sent a relief bus to transport the passengers, who were en route to Salt Lake, to the terminal.

This is at least the second time a Greyhound bus driver has suffered a medical issue while driving through Utah.

A 13-year-old girl from California was killed and 12 others were hospitalized on New Year's Eve when the bus rolled off I-70, slid down a steep wash and landed 200 feet off the freeway in Emery County.

Contributing: Heather Kelly, KSL Newsradio


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