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Investigators narrow possible cause of Greyhound bus crash on I-75, but still waiting on blood tests

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Posted at 3:29 PM, Sep 18, 2013
and last updated 2016-03-08 17:54:12-05

CINCINNATI – Ohio State Highway Patrol investigators say they're focusing on Greyhound bus driver Dwayne Garrett to pinpoint the cause of the early morning Sept. 14 bus crash on northbound I-75 that injured 34.

Sergeant Charlie Scales with OSP told WCPO the cause is either as a result of a medical condition or driver error.

Scales says he has probable cause to support one of those conclusions, but is waiting for blood test results before releasing the official findings.

Passengers said Garrett, 64, of Cincinnati, was slumped over at the wheel just before the wreck and didn't respond to their shouts of "Wake up! Wake up!"

Scales said an inspection of the bus didn't turn up any mechanical problems and that video from an onboard camera was of "very little help" because it was so dark.

OSP is heading up the investigation into the events that involved the bus rolling over in a field along northbound I-75 in Liberty Township and injuring 34 people on its way to Detroit from Cincinnati.

Sergeant Ed Mejia with OSP’s Hamilton Post said his office received a voluntary blood sample from Garrett.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

WCPO reporter Tom McKee contributed to this report.