Lehigh Valley

Bus and tractor trailer collide on Route 33

Army women's basketball team delayed while enroute to game

Bus accident on Rt. 33

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - A charter bus carrying a college basketball team and a tractor-trailer collided on Route 33 Wednesday.

Fire crews, EMS and State Police rushed to the scene Wednesday after a big-rig rear-ended a charter bus driving down Route 33 in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County.

After the 1:15 p.m. crash, part of the highway was shut down for more than an hour.

"As we were responding, we were in communication with the comm center and they advised us that is was a school bus," explained Fire Chief Jamie Hauze with Nancy Run Fire Department. "But they weren't sure a number of patients or age."

The group on board the motor coach was from the U.S Military Academy.

School officials tell us it was 27 members of Army's women's basketball team and a driver.

"Our driver, who is terrific, was just getting us back from a morning walk through, a shoot around before our game with Lehigh University," shared Head Coach Dave Magarity.

Investigators say the bus was having engine trouble and pulled over to the shoulder to take it slow.

According to State Police, the truck driver, 54-year-old Alton Spight, of Blue Mountain, Miss., lost control and crashed into the bus.

"From what we got from the bus driver, he said he could see the truck in the rear view mirror coming kind of jack-knifed and he told everybody, you know, hold on, he realized that the truck was going to hit them," Hauze added.

The tractor trailer slammed into the back of the bus.

The front of the truck was completely smashed.

Fire crews say the dashboard was pushed down onto Spight's knees, trapping him inside the cab.

"We had to cut the pedals off and remove some of the steering wheel and then push the dashboard forward in order to get him out," described Hauze.

After about 45 minutes, the driver was freed and taken to St. Luke's Hospital. There has been no word on the extent of his injuries.

Everyone on the bus was also brought to local hospitals, but no one was seriously hurt.

"A lot of our kids were banged up," described Magarity. "It was a really traumatic experience for them, and myself, I got banged around a little bit, but I think everybody's okay."

Hazmat was also at the scene of the wreck to clean up diesel fuel and oil that spilled out onto the highway.

Emergency crews were finished around 5:30 p.m.

State Police say the driver of the truck will be charged.

Army's game against Lehigh will be rescheduled.

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