The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that confusing highway signs, driver error and lack of passenger restraints contributed to the 2007 deaths of seven people in an Atlanta bus crash involving the Bluffton (Ohio) University baseball team. Five members of the team, their driver and his wife died during and after the crash on March 2, 2007. The driver mistook the high occupancy vehicle exit ramp for the HOV through lane. Board members lambasted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for delay in taking up recommendations, first made by the board in 1968, for installing seat belts or passenger safety restraints in buses.
To read The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, click here.
FROM MARCH 2007: One of the Bluffton University baseball players critically injured in a bus crash last week has died, bringing the total of dead in the wreck to seven. Pitcher Zach Arend, a freshman from Oakwood, Ohio, died about 6 a.m. Friday at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Two other survivors remained hospitalized Friday. The charter bus carrying the team from Bluffton, Ohio, to Florida for a spring break tournament plunged off an overpass in Atlanta onto Interstate 75. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Six people were killed when a bus carrying the baseball team from Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio, plunged off an elevated highway ramp in Atlanta. The bus driver, his wife, and four students from the team were killed. Twenty-nine other passengers were taken to local hospitals for treatment. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
A federal investigator says the bus driver in the fatal crash did not intend to exit on Northside Drive off I-75. An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board says the driver apparently didn't slow down as he came up the exit. There were no skid marks at the scene. Although the left-lane exit design is found on several roadways in metro Atlanta, they are rare in the rest of the country. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)