A tour bus accident on Route 220 in southern Bedford County injured dozens of people and temporarily closed the snow-covered highway about 6 miles north of the Maryland line Sunday afternoon.
State police in Bedford said it appeared the Rocky Gap Casino-bound bus was traveling too fast for road conditions when the operator lost control. The bus struck an embankment, injuring at least 25 of its 34 passengers.
But all of those injured apparently escaped the Cumberland Valley Township crash with only minor injuries, according to officials at the Bedford and Cumberland, Md., hospitals who treated the passengers.
Approximately 15 of them – including bus driver Terrence Harold Shultz, 65, of Altoona, were being treated at Western Maryland Health System’s Cumberland Hospital as of early Sunday evening, spokeswoman Kathy Rogers said.
Eleven more were taken to UPMC-Bedford Memorial, the hospital’s spokeswoman, Susan Manko, said. One passenger refused treatment and the other 10 received care and were released by 6 p.m., she said.
Of those treated, one person who was transported to the hospital initially was believed to be in serious condition. The injuries turned out not to be serious and the passenger was released after treatment, Manko said.
The Freedom Excursions tour bus was towed from the scene, state police said.
Bill Scully of the Altoona-based bus company said he was still gathering information about the crash around 5 p.m. and was unable to provide details.
But he said his company sent a vehicle down to pick up those uninjured for transportation back to Altoona.
“At this point, we don’t know a whole lot,” Scully said. “We’re just working to make sure everyone gets the care and emergency services they need.”
Ambulance crews and other responders were sent to the scene from across Bedford County and parts of others, including Allegany County, Md.
Initially dispatched for a potential highway bus rollover, first responders set up a triage site at Cherry Run Road, south of Centerville. There, responders worked to provide initial care and prioritize transports to local hospitals.
A Bedford County-based mass casualty trailer also was transported to the scene.
“There was a very large response – units from throughout the county,” said Derek Crooks, a Westmont man and longtime EMT, who was heading north toward Johnstown when he saw the crash. “It looked like it could have been a lot worse than it was. The bus was a little banged up, but it wasn’t too bad.”
State police were continuing to investigate the accident Sunday night.
David Hurst is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.
twitter.com/tddavidhurst. The Cumberland Times-News also contributed to this story.