Some of the Deadliest Bus Crashes in U.S. History

Some of the Deadliest Bus Crashes in U.S. History

An aerial photograph shows the scene of a May 21, 1976, bus accident in Martinez, Calif.

One of the most horrific bus crashes in U.S. history occurred May 21, 1976, when a bus ferrying a high school a cappella choir to a friendship day event with another school tumbled off a freeway ramp near Martinez, Calif.

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Of the 53 passengers on board, 28 students and a teacher died when the 1950 Crowne vehicle broke through a guardrail on an off-ramp and plunged almost 30 feet to the ground, landing upside down and crushing the roof of the bus. The National Transportation Safety Board found several factors that led to the accident, from the failure of a compressor drive belt that supplied air to the brakes of the bus to inexperience on the part of the driver.

In May 1996, on the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, a memorial constructed by firefighters who responded to the accident was dedicated to the victims at the Martinez Marina. A monument was dedicated in Yuba City in May 2011 on the 35th anniversary of the crash.

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Other deadly crashes:

• May 14, 1988: A Kentucky factory worker, who was later determined to be intoxicated at the time, drove his Toyota pickup down the wrong way on Interstate 71 in rural Carroll County and collided head-on with a church bus returning from an outing. Twenty-seven of the 67 passengers were killed; 34 were injured. The accident galvanized the drunken-driving movement, with some of the family members of the victims becoming active members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It also led to the toughening of bus safety laws.

• Feb. 28, 1958: A school bus with 48 elementary and high school students bound for a school in Prestonburg, Ky., hit the back of a truck and hurtled down an embankment into a fork of the Big Sandy River, where it was swept downstream. Twenty-six students and the bus driver drowned.

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 Sept. 23, 2005: A bus carrying nursing home residents away from Hurricane Rita caught fire and exploded while stuck in traffic on a highway south of Dallas, killing 23 elderly patients too frail to escape. The bus was transporting 38 residents and six employees of the Brighton Gardens nursing home in Houston to another home in Dallas. Investigators found that the patients' oxygen tanks exploded as flames engulfed the bus.

• May 9, 1999: A tour bus carrying a group of mostly senior citizens from LaPlace, La., to a casino in St. Louis, Miss., ran off Interstate 610 and slammed into a concrete wall, killing 22 people. Another 24 people were injured in the Mother's Day crash.

 Sept. 21, 1989: A Dr Pepper truck crashed into a school bus carry 81 junior high and high school students near Mission, Texas. The collision propelled the bus over an embankment and into a water-filled pit. Twenty-one students died.
Sourche: usatoday.com

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