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Greyhound bus crash: Investigators hope to release initial report by Friday

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CINCINNATI – Ohio State Highway Patrol hopes to release a report about Saturday's Greyhound bus crash by week's end.

Sergeant Ed Mejia with OSP’s Hamilton Post is heading up the investigation into events that involved the bus rolling over in a field along northbound Interstate 75 in Liberty Township and injuring 34 people on its way to Detroit from Cincinnati.

Mejia also confirmed his office received a voluntary blood sample from Dwayne Garrett, the 64-year-old bus driver from Cincinnati, who reportedly lost consciousness moments before the crash around 4 a.m.

It was unclear how long it would be before a full report on the blood sample would be released. Initial reports suggested Garrett may have suffered from a medical event.

Under Greyhound and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines Garrett would have passed an annual physical exam that checks for conditions like high blood pressure, sight issues, epilepsy, and other conditions that would have possibly impeded his ability to hold a CDL license. He would also have been subject to random drug and alcohol tests. 

Garrett has driven buses for Greyhound for 15 years, according to a Greyhound spokesperson.

"Because he'd only been on the road for about an hour and he'd only been working about an hour before the incident, he was well rested," said Greyhound spokesperson Alexandra Pedrini.

The highway patrol was also waiting to review security video captured on the bus. Mejia said some images from the accident were captured after the camera was activated when the brakes of the bus were applied.

Greyhound was making any footage taken available to investigators, Pedrini said.

The Butler County dispatch center that handled the initial 911 calls from the scene around 4 a.m. released those recordings Monday.

“The bus is upside down,” a frantic female caller can be heard saying while talking to a dispatcher. “And the bus driver is not coherent at all. We’re all bleeding, Please help us. . . . and we can’t get the emergency doors open.”

Multiple agencies responded to the scene of the incident near the State Route 129 exit. Fifty-two people, including Garrett, were aboard the motor coach when it left the highway and overturned in a field.

At least three people were still hospitalized. One person was listed at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, another at Mercy Fairfield, and a third at Miami Valley Hospital.

Two other crash victims were thought to be at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, but officials at the hospital would neither deny nor confirm those reports.

It was also unclear if Garrett, who was extracted from the bus, was one of those still hospitalized.

Unrelated to the crash investigation, Liberty Township Fire Chief Paul Stump and Butler County Emergency Management Administration Director Jeff Galloway said their departments were planning a review of responses to the crash sometime with the next week.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report indicates Greyhound, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, received a satisfactory rating for driver and vehicle safety in 2010. The bus line also received 2,344 random vehicle inspections over the past 24 months. Of those inspections, 154 vehicles, or 6.6 percent of its fleet, were pulled from service compared to a national industrial average of 20.72 percent.

A Greyhound official stated the bus involved in the crash received an inspection 14 days before the incident and passed.
 

WCPO reporter Tom McKee contributed to this report.

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