Indiana police take unsafe Megabus out of service

FILE: Meganbus

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A Megabus carrying 67 passengers was taken out of service Wednesday after an Indiana trooper spotted it leaning to one side and an inspection found other problems, state police said.

After an officer stopped the double-decker coach for speeding on Interstate 80/94 in Gary, it was escorted to a truck stop until a replacement bus arrived and passengers resumed their journey from Atlanta to Chicago, police said.

The stop came one day after a Megabus crashed on the Indiana Toll Road in nearby Hammond, marking the second crash by the carrier in Indiana in December and the third since October.

Indiana State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division inspectors placed the bus stopped Wednesday out of service for suspension failure, a defective emergency exit and unsafe operations. Inspectors also found an air leak in the rear brakes, police said.

The coach has three air bags on each side of its rear two axles, and all three air bags on the right side were deflated, causing it to lean to that direction, police said. Once the air bags are removed or deflated, the axle will not offer any support to the bus, police said.

Bus driver Damaris Hussain, 47 of Chicago, said she was aware the coach was leaning to one side, police said. She was ticketed for speeding and suspension failure. She had been traveling at 67 mph in a 55 mph zone, police said.

In Tuesday’s accident involving a Megabus, bus driver Albert Jackson, 63 of Richton Park, Illinois, was westbound in the center lane of the Indiana Toll Road near the Illinois state line as traffic in front of the bus slowed for an earlier crash, police said. Jackson failed to slow down and struck three cars, sending one of the cars into a barrier wall, according to police.

The driver and a passenger in a car struck by the bus went to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Megabus spokesman Sean Hughes issued a statement saying Megabus is cooperating with investigators in the accident.

Hughes also said all Megabus.com companies receive regular safety audits by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and all have satisfactory ratings from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Wednesday’s crash followed two others by Megabus coaches on Interstate 65 in southern Indiana. One near Seymour on Dec. 20 injured 24 people. The other occurred just south of Indianapolis in October and injured several people.

 

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