NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


March 15, 2004

The National Transportation Safety Board today released the following update on its investigation of a collision, March 12, near Gardens Corner, SC, involving a bus carrying US Navy personnel and a truck tractor.

The accident occurred at approximately 8:00 a.m., on US route 17, a two-lane road, when the third bus in a 4-bus caravan, traveling south, collided with a northbound truck tractor. The driver of the third bus and two front-seated passengers were killed. The driver of the truck tractor is reported to be in critical condition. Some passengers were ejected from the rear of bus. The accident resulted in over 40 injuries, including some to passengers on the fourth bus in the caravan, which swerved to avoid the collision.

The bus involved in the initial collision was a schoolbus- type vehicle, manufactured by Blue Bird, and configured to serve as an ambulance when necessary. As a result, the vehicle had fold-down seats and a larger rear door not normally found on a schoolbus. The truck tractor was a 1995 Freightliner, without a trailer attached.

The accident scene and vehicles have been surveyed and documented. NTSB investigators are currently interviewing the surviving bus passengers and plan to review driver records and training programs. Other Safety Board investigators will be looking at traffic patterns and the design and condition of the roadway. The crashworthiness of the accident vehicles also will be examined. As is standard, toxicology samples from the drivers are being sent to the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City for analysis.

Parties to the investigation are the South Carolina Department of Transportation, the South Carolina State Police, and the Navy's Safety Unit and Judge Advocate General's office.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.