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Utah Woman Injured in Nebraska Bus Crash

Utah Woman Injured in Nebraska Bus Crash



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(Wood River, Nebraska-AP)-- Icy roads caused a Greyhound bus to overturn off Interstate 80 in south-central Nebraska early Monday, injuring 16 passengers and the driver, authorities said.

One passenger, a Utah woman, was in critical condition.

The bus, carrying 27 passengers and a driver, was traveling from Omaha to Cheyenne, Wyo., and had already made a scheduled stop in Lincoln, said Greyhound spokeswoman Lynn Brown. The bus was on its way to its next stop in Lexington when the accident happened about 5:30 a.m., she said. Wood River is about 100 miles west of Lincoln.

Hall County Sheriff Jerry Watson said the driver told investigators that a westbound semi-trailer ahead of the bus lost control on the icy interstate and jackknifed into a ditch. The bus driver then swerved to miss the truck and overturned, Watson said.

The bus came to rest in the median, facing east and laying on its passenger side.

A woman in her 80s, Jean Reaske of Salt Lake City, was in critical condition at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Watson said.

Seven other passengers there were in fair condition there, hospital spokeswoman Wendy Meyer said.

Eight injured passengers and the driver were taken to St. Francis hospital in Grand Island, where they were being treated for minor injuries, said hospital spokesman Bob Bonnell.

Meyer said several uninjured passengers were taken to the Wood River Rural Fire Station.

At the fire hall, the volunteer fire department served doughnuts, coffee, orange juice and milk.

Jovanna Aguilera, 16, was on the bus when the accident happened.

She was traveling with her grandparents, Roberto Aguilera and Maria Carmen, from west Chicago to Vallejo, Calif., to visit relatives.

She and her grandparents were sleeping when the bus tipped over.

"All of a sudden we felt the bus, it was moving like a snake," Jovanna Aguilera said.

Passengers were directed out through a front window and through a compartment in the roof, said passenger Mouhamadou Ndiaye, 33, who was traveling from New York to Colorado Springs, Colo., to go to college.

"I suddenly woke up. People were screaming," Ndiaye said. Passengers remained in the bus for seven to 10 minutes before exiting, he said.

Rescue units, from Wood River, Shelton, Gibbon, Kearney and Grand Island arrived soon afterward. Ndiaye noticed an elderly woman sitting on the first seat on the driver's side. She wasn't moving, he said. He said he had a little pain in his back and shoulders.

"Me, compared to others, I'm OK," he said. The passengers said they were waiting for another Greyhound bus to arrive from Omaha so they could continue their journey.

Deputies were still on the scene several hours after the accident.

"We're still out there. We pretty much got all the passengers taken care of but we're still cleaning up," Watson said.

Watson said the roads in the area were icy from blowing and drifting snow overnight Sunday.

"Road conditions this morning are just not good at all," Watson said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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