- Associated Press - Thursday, July 22, 2010

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A Greyhound bus carrying 47 people and traveling to Sacramento from Los Angeles crashed on a highway in California’s Central Valley on Thursday, killing six and injuring many others.

California Highway Patrol Officer Michelle Sigmond said the bus driver swerved to try to avoid another crash involving an overturned SUV and slammed into a concrete center divider and then struck another vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. just outside downtown Fresno. The bus went down an embankment, hit a eucalyptus tree and came to rest on a freeway off-ramp with its front end smashed and tree branches jutting into the vehicle.

“I had just woke up, and I heard a boom once and a boom again, and the next thing I know we were down this embankment,” Linda Gee, a passenger on the bus, told KMPH-TV in Fresno.

“I’m alive, and I thank God I’m alive,” she said. “There was just bleeding everywhere.”

In addition to the six dead — four women and two men — several people were hurt, with injuries that ranged from critical to bruises and cuts, said CHP Officer Kirk Arnold.

Officer Arnold said 47 people were on board the bus, and the driver was among the dead.

It’s unclear whether all of the fatalities were on the bus.

The bus departed Los Angeles late Wednesday and stopped in Fresno before continuing on its route to Sacramento. It was on its way to Madera for one of about eight scheduled stops when the crash occurred, according to Greyhound spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian.

A relief bus was sent to take nine passengers who wanted to continue on to their destinations, Officer Sigmond said.

Northbound lanes of Highway 99, a major route through the San Joaquin Valley, have been closed since the crash.




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