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1 dead, 30 injured in New York bus-truck crash

By Katie Silver, CNN
  • NEW: The New York license of the bus driver had been suspended, police say
  • The driver of a tractor-trailer was killed when his truck collided with a bus, police say
  • Thirty people on the bus were injured; two were in critical condition, police say

(CNN) -- A crash between a bus and a tractor-trailer early Friday left the truck's driver dead and 30 people injured in upstate New York, state police said.

Killed was Timothy Hume, 60, of Michigan, said State Police Maj. Mark Koss.

The bus driver, Rene Bisson, 60, of Welland, Ontario, was driving despite his New York license having been suspended in the state in 2006, Koss said.

The incident happened about 1:20 a.m. ET on the eastbound lane of Interstate 90, he said, near the town of Junius in New York's Finger Lakes region.

"We believe the tractor-trailer struck the bus in the rear, but we do not know why that occurred," Koss said.

There were 52 passengers on the bus, including the 30 who were injured, he said. Two of the injured were airlifted to hospitals and were in critical condition. Fifteen suffered minor to serious injuries, and 13 suffered minor injuries but walked away from the crash.

The passengers range from 15 to 72 years old and are all Canadians from the province of Ontario, Koss said.

The investigation is ongoing, he said, but it appears that the bus had pulled to the side of the highway to deal with a mechanical issue, and sat there for around 30 minutes before moving back onto the highway.

The tractor-trailer appears to have struck the bus when it was in the driving lane, Koss said, but police are unsure at what speed it was moving and where it was in the lane when it was hit.

There was an explosion upon impact, he said. Both the bus and the tractor-trailer were engulfed in flames.

Some of the injured were helped by U.S. Army Sgt. Jacob Perkins, a solider from Fort Drum, who stopped his vehicle and pulled people from the bus, Koss said.

"It says a lot about Sgt. Perkins and our guys in the military," said Koss, who added he was "very surprised there weren't more fatalities."

Bisson, whose New York license had been suspended for speeding tickets, will be charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle, a misdemeanor, Koss said.

The bus left Welland at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, he said. It was owned by Farr's Coach Lines, based in Dunnville, Ontario.