Three people, including a bus driver, died and at least 13 were hurt in a head-on crash between a bus carrying Italian tourists and a tractor-trailer in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountain region Wednesday morning that left part of the big rig sheared in half and a "chaotic" scene of screaming passengers.
Wednesday night police identified the bus driver who was killed in the accident as 54-year-old Alfredo Telemaco of New York, NY.
Telemaco was driving a 2013 Mercedes Benz Commercial Passenger Bus with the Academy Express company in the northbound lanes of Interstate 380 at mile post 4.4 in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.
At the same time Franklin Wyatt, 55, of Macomb, Oklahoma, was driving a 2007 Freightliner, Greatwide Dedicated transport tractor trailer south on I-380. Finally, Virginal Dockery, 35, of Augusta, Georgia, was driving a 2015 Freightliner, Swift Transportation Co. tractor trailer in the northbound lanes.
As he was driving, Wyatt suddenly entered the northbound lanes of I-380 and struck Dockery's vehicle, according to investigators. The impact caused Wyatt's tractor trailer to then strike Telemaco's bus in a head-on collision.
"I heard a big crash," said Johnny Walsh, who lives right behind the highway. "All of a sudden people were screaming."
"It split the trailer right in half," Walsh said.
The bus, which left New York City at 7:30 a.m. bound for Niagra Falls, came to rest in the middle of the split trailer owned by logistics company Xtra. The truck's cab was a good distance away on its side at the edge of a wooded area.
Telemaco as well as two passengers on the bus who have not yet been identified were pronounced dead at the scene. Telemaco had more than a decade of bus driving experience, according to an Academy Express spokesperson.
"People started jumping out of their cars, going to the bus (to help)," said Walsh.
Officials said many of the injured "were reported to be unconscious."
"One lady in particular was just gushing blood from her head, cut up everywhere, saying 'Help get me out,'" said witness Alex Duffield. "It was chaotic. It was a mess."
The 13 survivors on the bus were all taken to various hospitals, some being flown by helicopter. County dispatchers said the wreck left some people trapped on the bus.
Monroe County Coroner Robert Allen said all the passengers on the bus — Viaggidea was painted on the side — were Italian Nationals. The website for Viaggidea says its an Italian tour company. Academy Bus owns the vehicle, which was leased to Viaggidea.
The wreck left the both lanes of I-380 closed as emergency crews responded. Operations at nearby Mount Pocono Regional Airport were also put on hold so that medevacs could fly in and out, said airport manager Jack Asure.
Around 2 p.m., traffic began moving southbound as the investigation continued northbound. All lanes on I-380 were reopened Wednesday night.
The stretch of I-380 near Tobyhanna where Wednesday' deadly crash is near where a truck struck singer Gloria Estefan's tour bus more than 25 years ago. The wreck left the singer, her husband and their son hurt.