WASHINGTON COUNTY (KDKA) -- State police are investigating a tour bus crash on I-70 in Washington County that sent more than two dozen passengers to the hospital and backed up traffic for hours.
Prakash Phannickal was a passenger on the tour bus when it crashed and flipped over on I-70 sometime before 4 a.m. Sunday.
"The impact was so hard, and it flipped over," he said. "My shoes flipped out, it fell out. I had no shoes, glass everywhere."
State police say the bus, carrying 27 passengers, was travelling from New York to Columbus when it collided with a Hondra CR-V near the Jefferson Avenue exit in Washington County.
"The tour bus was in the right lane, the Honda CR-V was in the left lane of the Interstate. The Honda CR-V veered from the left lane into the right lane, striking the tour bus, causing the bus to lose control and tip onto its side," said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Matthew Jardine.
The bus is owned by a company from North Carolina, and it was being operated by Jaguar Bus Tours. Phannickal says the lights went out and he smelled diesel fuel after the crash, but no one tried to help passengers escape.
"There was no warning of users exit or helping us out," he said. "I was the last person to get out of the bus because I was helping this lady out and she bled all over my coat."
"Right after the crash, that's all they were doing," Phannickal said. "They were smoking cigarettes, and they were on their phones."
When the accident happened, the 911 call went out as a mass casualty event. Hospitals and emergency responders were told to be prepared to treat a number of passengers with serious injuries. Fortunately, the outcome of the crash was not as severe.
Sixteen passengers were treated at Washington Hospital.
"Luckily, fortunately for all of us, they were all minor injuries," said Washington Hospital Dr. Amarkith Mally. "Bruises and bumps and cuts which we had to stitch, nothing life-threatening."
State police say the driver was ejected from the bus and taken to a Pittsburgh hospital. Other passengers were treated at a hospital in Cannonsburg. The company had another bus to take passengers to Columbus.
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