The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 17, 2013

State police continue to probe Oct. 9 Greyhound bus crash

By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item

— NEW COLUMBIA — Two months after a Greyhound bus crashed into the back of a tractor trailer on Interstate 80, police are still working on figuring out what caused the Oct. 9 crash which killed one and injured more than 40 others.

State Police at Milton, who are investigating the White Deer are still waiting for “reconstruction information,” said State Police spokesman Matt Burrows.

The National Transportation Safety Board is not investigating the crash, according to a spokesman, but will use the information from the state police’s investigation “to support a special report on rear-end collisions” by buses.

The crash occurred in the early morning hours of Oct. 9 at Mile Post 204.8 in White Deer Township, Union County, when the bus slammed into the rear of the tractor-trailer and killed one woman and injured more than 40 other passengers, who were taken to five regional hospitals. State police at Milton said the victim, Hoang Thi Thanh Son, 37, of Vietnam, was identified using a fingerprint on her passport, which was found among debris from the wreckage.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Akos Gubica, 36, of New Jersey, told authorities at the scene that he was driving to Ohio when his truck was struck in the rear by the bus.

Gubica said he was traveling at about the speed limit and did now know what caused the bus to slam into his flatbed trailer.

Monday, Greyhound spokeswoman Alexandra Pedrini said the company had no update on the crash.

“Greyhound conducted an internal investigation and has fully complied with the needs of the Pennsylvania State Police and will continue to do so as needed,” she said.

The crash - the second deadly Greyhound bus crash in 23 days in the northeast United States - reignited debate concerning the safety of charter bus companies’ driver policies and bus safety.

Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down 52 bus companies for unsafe conditions in a campaign called “Operation Quick Strike,” according to the agency.

In April, the agency began scrutinizing 250 companies with poor safety records out of the approximately 4,000 interstate bus lines it regulates. “Operation Quick Strike” came partly in response to major crashes of carriers that, despite dismal safety records, the agency allowed to continue operating.

Four of the 52 companies were from Pennsylvania: Bus Go Bus, Inc., based in Philadelphia; S&V Tours Inc. and Wilcar Tours Inc. of Tobyhanna; and Travel Time Transportation.

The fourth, Travel Time Transportation LLC, was based in Danville, but shut down July 29th, according to manager Joe Schoppy.

“That’s old, ancient history,” he said.

Schoppy said he did not know why the shuttered company was included on the list of 52 companies shut down by the Motor Carrier Association.