BOSTON – It was one of the most frightening scenes ever experienced by Pa high school students in a chartered bus. These young folks with some of their parents as chaperones have just completed a Harvard tour and were on their way back to Philadelphia. However, on their way home, at about 7:30 o’clock in the evening, the chartered bus from Calvary Coach struck an overpass on Soldier’s Field Road, a major road of the cross town road.
According to the report from Emergency Medical Services of Boston, 34 people sustained injuries, including one student who was hospitalized due to life-threatening injuries and three others with critical injuries. Up to this moment, police have not yet completed their investigation and have no data regarding identities of the young and adult folks.
Soldiers Field Road has been a challenged to out-of-town motorist as it is full of curves rounding Charles River as it flows by Boston and Harvard Universities.
Police of Massachusetts State confirmed that there were 42 high school students and some of their parents in the bus which was heading towards Philadelphia. A tired but happy group was preparing to relax while taking the five-hour ride home when disaster struck. At 30 minutes after seven o’clock that Saturday evening, the bus driver shouted to call 911 as his brakes failed. Commotion followed, shouts, shrieks, cries and prayers were heard all over the bus until the vehicle crashed at the overpass in Soldier Field’s Road.
Proprietor of the Philadelphia-based Calvary Coach Bus company, Ray Talmedge stated in an interview with the media that his 66 years old driver from West Philly, Samuel J. Jackson had no knowledge about height restriction in the area. Jackson is a veteran driver and is also operating a school bus. He added that Jackson has difficulty driving through a confusing labyrinth of roads and was referring to the GSP when he saw that he was approaching the overpass with height limitation. He could not stop as his brakes failed.
Massachusetts State Police learned that it was the first time for Samuel J. Jackson to drive on Soldiers Field Road.
The bus damage was enormous as its front part roof was pushed inward while its center section bowed downward. The area was littered with glass with some passengers were screaming while others were crying. A number of passengers were trapped for hours as rescue crews worked to free them, Massachusetts state police said that firefighters were standing on top of the bus to extract passengers.
The students’ tour was part of a Destined for a Dream Foundation program. Talmedge explained that Dream Foundation was based in Bristol, Pa. It is a nonprofit group helping underprivileged youth expands their horizon.
Twenty-four hours after their bus crashed into a Boston overpass, the uninjured students and their adult chaperones from Bucks County got onto another bus and head for home. At least four of the original 42 passengers stayed in the hospital sustaining critical injuries.
After the incident, Soldiers Field was closed fir traffic as tow trucks tried to hoist the bus over guardrails onto an adjacent road.
Authorities reiterated that buses and oversized vehicles are not allowed on Soldier’s Field Road where a 10-foot height limit is in place. Spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, Steve MacDonald said Sunday that there are ample signs warning motorists of the overpass’ height restriction are all over the place.
The good news is that Jackson did not sustain any injured; the bad news was that state police is filing a citation for overheight violation due to his failure to follow road signs as the warning of the height limit and other serious charges.
The authorities were not able to find any federal or Pennsylvania state records that showed crashes involving Calvary Coach over the past two years. There was also no complaint filed against the company.
No minor damage happened to the road and bridge after the accident. The area was reopened Sunday.
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Source: Bog Story A.P. Org
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