Nine people were injured Friday morning when a charter bus struck a guardrail on southbound I-95 near Aberdeen, fire officials said.
The crash was reported at about 8:45 a.m. Friday near mile marker 86 at Maxa Road and Paradise Road, according to the Harford County Emergency Operations Center.
Nine patients were transported to hospitals in Harford, Baltimore, and Cecil counties according to Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association; a tenth person refused treatment at the scene. Gardiner said no serious injuries had been reported.
Initial reports claimed at least 12 people had been hurt in the crash.
Seven medic units responded to the scene, including the Aberdeen Fire Department, Level Volunteer Fire Company, and the Susquehanna Hose Company.
From Maryland State Police:
FATIGUED DRIVER – CHARTER BUS DRIVES OFF INTERSTATE
(Harford County, MD) – The driver of a charter bus company (Dawson Bus Company, based out of Delaware) fell asleep while driving Southbound Interstate 95 at the 87.6 Mile Marker in Aberdeen, MD.
According to our investigation, the driver Mr. Kirk M.Wiltshire, 54 years of age with an address in Wyoming, Delaware apparently fell asleep, which allowed the occupied bus to drift off the roadway. The bus drove up an embankment. The operator awoke and steered the bus back onto the interstate. The driver maneuvered the bus onto the right shoulder of the roadway and stopped the vehicle.
Maryland State Troopers from the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway Barrack (JFK) responded to the scene to check on the welfare of the driver and passengers. Approximately 4-5 passengers complained of neck/back issues and requested medical treatment. Local Fire Companies were requested to provide medical services. Several southbound lanes were closed momentarily while the patients were loaded into ambulances. All the injuries reported appear to be minor in nature. Patients were transported to local area hospitals for precautionary reasons.
Investigators suspected the bus may have sustained undercarriage damage as a result of driving off the roadway. Therefore, Dawson Company dispatched another replacement bus to the scene for safety reasons, and transported the remaining passengers to their destination.
Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division will be conducting a post-collision inspection on the bus to determine whether there were any mechanical issues that may have contributed to this incident.
Mr. Wiltshire was cited for operating a motor vehicle while fatigued and negligent driving.