NEW YORK (Reuters) - A tractor trailer collided with a tour bus in upstate New York on Friday, killing the truck driver, injuring dozens of bus passengers and engulfing both vehicles in flames, state police said.
The crash, the state’s third major deadly road accident this week, took place early in the morning as the bus was ferrying some 50 people from the Canadian province of Ontario to New York City on Interstate 90, Trooper Mark O‘Donnell said.
Police said bus driver Rene Bisson, 60, of Ontario, had been driving on a suspended license when the crash happened and was charged with a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle without a license.
O‘Donnell said Bisson had two speeding tickets in New York that he never took care of, prompting the suspension in 2006.
Prior to the crash, the bus had stopped for an unknown reason on the side of the highway in Junius, New York. It was pulling back onto the roadway when the collision happened, O‘Donnell said.
“It attempted to reenter the eastbound lanes when it was struck from behind by a tractor trailer,” O‘Donnell said. “Both vehicles started on fire and were soon engulfed in flames.”
The driver of the truck, Timothy Hume of Dreyden, Michigan, was declared dead at the scene. Police said 46 people on the bus were taken to hospitals and 30 of them treated for injuries.
O‘Donnell said witnesses helped pull passengers from the fiery wreckage. A crash reconstruction team was on the scene to try to determine exactly what happened, he said.
The crash comes days after a tour bus crash killed two people and injured 35 others in Avoca, New York, on Sunday. Then on Tuesday, a car crashed into a van carrying Amish farmers, killing five of them in Benton, New York.
The accident was also the latest in a string of tour bus incidents in the region. A bus carrying Indian tourists to Niagara Falls blew a tire and spun out of control on Sunday, killing two women on board.
In June, a tour bus driver was killed and several passengers injured when a bus traveling to New Jersey from Kentucky rear-ended a tractor trailer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of Pittsburgh.
Four people were killed in May when the driver of a Sky Express bus headed to New York City fell asleep and the bus crashed in Virginia. The company was found to have dozens of past violations for fatigued driving.
In March, 15 people were killed when a bus returning from a Connecticut casino veered off a highway in New York City. The bus driver had a suspended license and had used an alias on a subsequent license application, prompting a state investigation that has yielded at least 13 arrests.
Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Jerry Norton and Cynthia Johnston