Multiple people returning from a spring break trip were injured after the coach bus that picked them up from the airport struck an overpass, tearing the vehicle’s roof off.
New York State Police confirmed in a press release that a Journey Bus Line carrying 44 people — 38 students ranging from 16 to 18 years of age, and five chaperones, as well as the driver — was involved in an accident on Sunday night. The group was traveling from John F. Kennedy International airport in New York to the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington on Long Island after returning from a trip to Eastern Europe.
Police identified the driver as Troy D. Gaston of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He and all 43 passengers were taken to several area hospitals, police said, noting that two of the injuries were serious and five of the injuries were moderate.
Long Island bus accident
The investigation into the collision is ongoing, according to authorities.
In a statement to PEOPLE, EF Tours, which the trip was booked through, said: “All of us are shocked and saddened by the serious bus accident that occurred on Southern State Parkway in New York last night; our thoughts are with those who were injured. The tour had just returned from Europe and was traveling on a chartered bus to an arranged pickup point at the time of the accident. We are doing everything we can to support the students, chaperones, and their families. We are also working with public safety officials as they conduct their investigation. The safety of our travelers is always our top priority, and we are conducting our own review in parallel.”
Journey Bus Line did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment. Police were also not immediately available for comment.
Long Island bus accident
The accident occurred on the Southern State Parkway heading east in Lakeview, according to ABC News.
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State Police Maj. David Candelaria said that the driver was not from the area and not aware of the parkway’s restrictions against commercial vehicles, reported the Washington Post.
“I don’t think he had any awareness because if you look at the damage, it’s a high-impact strike,” Candelaria said, according to the Post.
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Candelaria did not specify whether those with more significant injuries were students.
“Everybody was able to walk out except one, which we extricated,” Lakeview Fire Department Chief Patrick McNeill told Newsday. “There was glass everywhere. The roof of the bus is down to the top of the seat covers.”