At least 21 dead in Louisiana tour bus accident
May 9, 1999
From CNN's Charles Zewe
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- At least 21 people were killed and many others injured Sunday when their chartered tour bus veered across three lanes of a New Orleans interstate, jumped the embankment and crashed.
Emergency personnel were still inside the bus trying to assess the death toll.
It is not known exactly how many people were aboard the bus, which could hold up to 55 people. New Orleans police said there may have been as many as 37 aboard, while the bus company said it may have been full.
Police told CNN's Charles Zewe that most of those on the bus were elderly people on their way from suburban LaPlace to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for a one-day Mother's Day gambling outing.
The injured were taken to area hospitals, where at least seven were listed in critical condition. Hospital officials were especially concerned about the injuries because of the ages of those aboard.
Police said the bus veered across three lanes as it headed east on Interstate 610 near Wisner Boulevard, in the City Park area, and crashed. The bus narrowly missed a group of other buses before it came to a stop, its front end crushed.
The driver, identified by the company as Frank Bedell, 49, survived the crash. Bedell told investigators he veered because he thought someone on the highway was cutting him off, according to Charity Hospital spokesman Jerry Romig.
Company spokesman Terrell Walker said Bedell had worked for Custom Bus Charter for three years and had no work history problems.
Walker said the bus had new brakes and no record of recent mechanical problems.
The interstate remained closed in the area around the crash Sunday afternoon. A National Transportation Safety Board investigating team hopes to arrive on the scene by Sunday evening.
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.