Posted: May 22, 2012 1:36 PM by Phil Buck (KPAX News)
Updated: May 22, 2012 2:11 PM
EVARO- A Tuesday morning bus crash on U.S. Highway 93 North near Evaro sent several people to the hospital.
Faulty brake lights and a fault turn signal are being blamed for the wreck that involved a pickup truck and a Rimrock Stages bus that sent a handful of people to the hospital.
The crash happened at around 8:30 a.m. on U.S. Highway 93 North between Evaro and Arlee. The Montana Highway Patrol reports that both vehicles were headed northbound when the driver of the pickup truck attempted to make a turn and was rear-ended by the bus.
(photo courtesy passenger Corey Anderson)
"It's pretty scary...We saw it happen because he kind of squirreled ahead of us and then he [the pickup truck] just went right in front of us. You don't know what to think, you just kind of go ‘whoa!' Then you just jump out and help whoever you can," buss passenger Chris Clark said.
The witnesses that we spoke with said that the bus rear-ended the pickup truck at which point both vehicles careened off of the road and once they came to rest, passengers on the bus leapt into action, helping to secure the scene until emergency personnel could arrive on the scene.
"Obviously we has some people [on the bus] who knew what was going on. We had some veterans on there, some guys who had been to combat life saving courses, so they were able to talk with the driver- not the they could extricate him, but they could keep him calm and take care of some shock issues and that type of thing, so they did a great job" Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Philip Smart explained.
The nature of the injuries are not clear yet, but a Montana Highway Patrol trooper says that this appears to be a non-fatality accident. The driver of the pickup truck was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, but is expected to live.
There were several people riding on the Rimrock Stages, most of whom suffered minor injuries in the crash. Four of those hurt in the accident were taken to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula to be treated for the injuries they sustained in the wreck.
The bus started its trip Tuesday morning in Missoula and was headed to Whitefish and authorities are still investigating the crash.