Ohio bus crash: Did driver fall asleep?

A Greyhound bus crashed on I-75 early Saturday, injuring 34 people. The bus was traveling from Cincinnati to Detroit. One passenger says the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

 Authorities say a Greyhound bus left the highway, flipped and landed on its side in a cornfield in southwest Ohio and 34 people have been hurt, with injuries ranging from minor to severe.

Officials with the Butler County Emergency Operations Center say in a statement the bus, carrying 51 passengers and the driver, was headed northbound on I-75 early Saturday when it overturned about 26 miles north of Cincinnati at approximately 4 a.m.

Authorities say 34 people have been transported to area hospitals. They say six were taken from the scene by medical helicopters, and 28 others taken to hospitals by ambulance.

Officials say the bus left Cincinnati and was bound for Detroit. Passengers who were not injured were transported back to Cincinnati.

There was no immediate official word on the cause of the crash. But a passenger interviewed by WHIO-TV said that the driver fell asleep.

Last year, the Department of Transportation cracked shut down 26 intercity bus operators, declaring them "imminent hazards to public safety." It was the single largest safety crackdown in the history of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the branch of the DOT established in 2000 to help curb fatalities and injuries resulting from bus and truck crashes, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

The FMCSA began investigating the carriers operating along I-95 after a series of deadly bus crashes in spring 2011. Greyhound was not one of the carriers cited in last year's safety crackdown.

Motorcoach travel is considered a safe mode of highway travel, with 750 million passenger trips per year, the DOT reports. Motorcoach company inspections have more than doubled from 2005 to 2011. Even so, motorcoach crashes have resulted in an average of 19 occupant fatalities per year over the past 10 years. That does not include fatalities among pedestrians, drivers, and passengers of other vehicles involved in those crashes.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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