Eleven people, including the driver, have been injured in an accident involving a Butler Area Rural Transit bus and a freight train Friday morning.
Evans City police Chief Joe McCombs said the accident happened at about 8:15 a.m. at the Maple Avenue crossing in Evans City. There are no crossing gates nor warning lights where the road crosses the CSX tracks.
McCombs said 10 special needs and elderly people were injured, plus the driver. At least two are in critical condition. (Click the video above for a press conference with McCombs)
A 91-year-old woman has since died from her injuries, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office. Her name has not been released.
The chief said the white mini-bus was heading east towards South Washington Street when it stopped for an unknown reason on the tracks while the train was approaching.
The Allegheny Valley Railroad train struck the bus broadside, spinning it around, he said.
"The engineer sounded the horn numerous time and the bus did not move," McCombs said.
The train, which was carrying asphalt, came to a stop about 100 yards from where it struck the bus, the chief said.
"It was pretty chaotic and a pretty severe impact," McCombs said. "There was a major intrusion on the one side of the bus."
Two helicopters helped transport the two most critically injured passengers from the scene. The other nine people were taken by ambulance to area hospitals.
Brian Greenawalt, paramedic supervisor for Harmony EMS, said one of the critically injured passengers had severe head trauma.
The ages of the injured range from 26 up to 92 years old. There were eight men and two women on the bus, McCombs said.
The driver is 60 years old, the chief said. He said it is unknown if he suffered a medical issue at the time of the incident.
Allegheny General Hopsital spokewsoman Stephanie Waite said four patients were transported to AHG in Pittsburgh.
A 91-year old woman is in critical condition, she said. A 75-year-old man and a 35-year-old man are in serious condition. A 38 year-old man is in fair condition.
UPMC spokesman Rick Pietzak said at 12:43 p.m. that an adult female taken to Cranberry Passavant had non-life threatening injuries and was treated and released.
He also indicated that two adult men—each in their 40s— who were transported to UPMC McCandless are now being transferred to UPMC Presbyterian. Both men suffered non life-threatening injuries, he confirmed.
No further information was available about an adult male who was flown to UPMC Presbyterian for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash, Pietzak said.
Three people were taken to Butler Memorial Hospital, including the bus driver, according to Connie Downs, spokeswoman for the Butler Health System.
Two of those people had been treated and released and the third was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the PG reports.
Beth Herold, director of the Butler County Agency on Aging, said she had three elderly people on the bus. All were critically injured, she said.
"That's all that's going through my mind right now is praying for them and their families," she said.
The agency provides transportation for those 60 and older. It contracts the service with BART, Herold said.
McCombs said the passengers were being transported to various locations, including homes and nursing homes prior to the accident.
He said it was foggy at the time of the crash.
An average of three to four trains use the CSX Railroad line daily, the chief said. This is the first time there has been an accident at the intersection.
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