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Eleven persons were taken to hospitals for treatment, said state police Cpl. Adrian Ray.

The bus ran off Interstate 40 in the flat Delta country of eastern Arkansas on Monday evening and came to rest sharply tilted to one side and nearly concealed by thick trees.

“It was like we were lifted off the ground, and we were flying through the trees,” said passenger Paula Smith, 41, of Indianapolis.

The woman who grabbed for the steering wheel ran after the bus stopped, but other passengers chased her and held her until police arrived, according to passengers.

Cpl. Ray identified the woman as Victoria Combs, 27, and said she was among those taken to hospitals. Yesterday, though, state police spokesman Bill Sadler said troopers were still trying to confirm her identity. He said troopers had received conflicting statements from passengers and the driver as to whether the woman had boarded the bus in Nashville or Memphis, Tenn.

The woman had been acting erratically since she boarded the bus, “saying she was afraid someone was going to kill her,” said passenger Charlotte Simmons, 29, of Hot Springs. Miss Simmons said the woman complained to the driver at one point that other passengers were spraying drugs in her face.

Greyhound said 49 persons were aboard the bus, which had started its trip in Richmond.

CALIFORNIA

Deliveryman sentenced to death for murders

LOS ANGELES — A pizza deliveryman was sentenced to death yesterday for the murders of 10 women and an unborn baby during the 1980s and ‘90s in Los Angeles neighborhoods beset by a crack-cocaine epidemic.

A jury in May recommended the death penalty for Chester Turner, and Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders agreed yesterday.

“I don’t think any jury would arrive at a different conclusion and would, in any court, demand a death penalty,” Judge Pounders said.

Turner, 40, declined to say anything in court after several of the victims’ relatives spoke at the hearing. The case will automatically be appealed.

Prosecutors said Turner preyed upon prostitutes and other impoverished women with drug problems who lived primarily in South Los Angeles.

He was convicted April 30 of 10 counts of first-degree murder, plus one count of second-degree murder for the death of one victim’s unborn baby. That victim, Regina Washington, 27, was 6½ months pregnant when Turner strangled her with an electrical cord behind a vacant house in September 1989.

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