A tractor-trailer and tour bus collided on a rural North Georgia highway Thursday, killing one person and injuring 43 others.
A preliminary investigation of the crash faults the driver of a tractor-trailer hauling a load of stone. Georgia State Police said the truck driver was attempting to pull onto the southbound lanes of Georgia Highway 515 from a side road but couldn’t complete the turn because other traffic was obstructing him. The incomplete turn left the back of the tractor-trailer stopped in the northbound lanes.
The bus, chartered from Greatime Getaways in Cobb County, Ga., could not stop in time and collided with the truck, killing the bus driver. First responders had to cut the windows out of the bus to access the 48 passengers inside because the door was crushed.
Forty-three of the passengers, most of them senior citizens, suffered various injuries.
One of the crash victims was flown to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, according to WSB-TV Channel 2 News. Twenty-nine of the injured passengers were taken to Piedmont Hospital Mountainside in Jasper, Ga., and others were taken to hospitals in Fannin and Cherokee counties. Most of those injured have since been released, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The bus was traveling to Harrah’s River Valley Casino in Murphy, N.C., from Cobb County, Ga., a two-hour trip. The crash occurred just south of the town of Ellijay in Gilmer County, tying up all traffic lanes and blocking traffic for miles as emergency crews tended to the victims and cleared the scene.
The driver of the tractor-trailer works for Polcon Tile & Terrazzo Inc. of Charlotte, N.C. He was not injured and refused to talk to the press.