|ATLANTA -- A charter bus carrying a college baseball team from Ohio plunged off an interstate ramp early Friday and slammed into the highway below, killing six people, injuring 29 and scattering sports equipment across the road, authorities said. |
At least three people were listed in critical condition.
The bus, carrying the team from Bluffton University, a Mennonite-affiliated school south of Toledo, toppled off the Northside Drive bridge on Interstate 75 in clear, pre-dawn weather, police spokesman Joe Cobb said.
It crashed onto a pickup truck.
"When I saw the thing coming, I think I closed my eyes and stepped on the gas," said Danny Lloyd, who was driving the truck and escaped uninjured. "It looked to me like a big slab of concrete falling down."
The impact broke his windshield, pushed his truck into the concrete and wrecked the front bumper, said, Lloyd, 57, of Frostburg, Md.
Firefighters pulled people through the roof of the bus, which was on its side. Sports equipment was scattered along the interstate. Some of the luggage scattered on the road was labeled Bluffton University Baseball, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
At Bluffton University's campus, clergy organized a campus gathering to give students a venue to express their feelings about the crash, said Pastor Steve Yoder with the First Mennonite Church. Students and residents of the community wiped tears from their eyes as they came in, and the gym was quiet with people talking muffled voices.
Nineteen male students were being treated at Grady Memorial Hospital, said Dr. Leon Haley. Three were in critical condition, and all but two students were awake and talking, he said. Doctors were checking them for broken bones, he said.
"All things considered they are pretty calm," Haley said. "They are very aware of what's going on.
He said the driver was not taken to Grady. Three injured people were taken to Piedmont Hospital and seven to Atlanta Medical Center, Haley said.
Piedmont hospital spokeswoman Diana Lewis said the team's coach, James Grandey, 29, was in serious condition and expected to improve.
Officials at the three hospitals said 28 of the 29 people being treated were of college age. The age of one injured person, at Piedmont, could not immediately be determined, they said.