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Bus Driver Critically Injured In Crash On NJ Turnpike; Two Others Hospitalized

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A bus and a tractor trailer after colliding on the New Jersey Turnpike - Aug 24, 2011 (credit: CBS2)

A bus and a tractor trailer after colliding on the New Jersey Turnpike – Aug 24, 2011 (credit: CBS2)

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SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A 52-year-old tour bus driver from Virginia is hospitalized following a crash between the bus and a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The bus was carrying 50 passengers, en route to Washington, D.C. from Brooklyn.

“He is still alive at this point in extremely critical condition,” trauma surgeon Dr. Meredith Tinti told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin. “He has multi-system injuries with lots of broken bones and active bleeding.”

Of the 17 injuries, which includes three children, most are described as minor. They were treated at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and released.

The crash happened two miles north of 8A in the southbound truck lanes near South Brunswick around noon.

“They were coming together either somebody shift lanes and wasn’t paying attention and they both just went in to each other,” said Amy Batista of East Windsor.

Turnpike Authority Spokesman Tom Feeney said it appears the bus hit the back of the tractor-trailer which also “may have had contact with another vehicle before that.”

With southbound truck lanes closed for hours, traffic backed up for miles around the three large vehicles involved. All southbound  lanes reopened by late afternoon, but motorists were still experiencing residual delays.

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This is the latest in a series of bus crashes that have occurred in the Northeast and the second on the New Jersey Turnpike this year.

In March, 15 people were killed when a bus scraped along a guard rail, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole along Interstate 95 on the Bronx-Westchester line.

Days later, a chartered bus crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike just beyond Exit 9 in New Brunswick. Two people were killed and five others were injured.

Four people were killed in May when a Sky Express operated bus returning to Chinatown from North Carolina swerved off the road and overturned on I-95 in Virginia.

The driver of that bus, 37-year-old Kin Yiu Cheung, is charged with four felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. He has pleaded not guilty.

In June, a tour bus headed to Flushing, Queens rear-ended a flatbed tractor-trailer on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, killing the bus driver and injuring dozens of passengers.

Then in July, one person was killed and 30 injured in a crash in Waterloo when a New York City-bound Farr’s Coach Lines bus was pulling onto Interstate 90 when it was hit in the rear by a tractor-trailer. Both vehicles burst into flames.

On August 3, police say a charter bus headed to Trenton from upstate New York was going too fast when it crashed and flipped over. Thirty people were hurt including a woman who was pinned underneath the bus.

Then on August 13, a Greyhound bus bound for St. Louis from New York City lost control on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, sending 14 people to the hospital.

Do you think it’s safe to get on a tour bus? Sound off below in our comments section…

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