Investigators are still poring through the evidence from yesterday’s crash between a Ford Mustang, a school bus and an MTA commuter bus to figure out what led to the tragic collision.
For anyone who missed it, the crash happened around 6:30 a.m., when a school bus driver hit the Mustang and a pillar, then veered into oncoming traffic on Frederick Avenue and destroyed the MTA bus coming head on. Six people died, including both bus drivers and four MTA bus passengers. The school bus wasn’t carrying any kids, but the driver was on his way to pick one up.
Police today released most of the names of the people who lost their lives: Ebony Baker, 33, who was operating the No. 10 line MTA bus; Glenn Chappell, 67, who was driving the school bus; and passengers Cherry Denise Yarborough, 51, Terance Lee Casey, 52, and Gerald Holloway, 51. All were Baltimore residents. Police said there was also an unidentified 46-year-old woman who was killed.
First responders spent hours removing them from the wreckage and notified their families yesterday.
Amazingly, an aide on the school bus and the driver of the Mustang lived. Among the bus passengers, there is some good news today: Seven of the 10 injured victims have been released from the hospital. Three remain at University of Maryland Shock Trauma, with one of them still in critical condition.
While police and are looking into the three-vehicle accident, they are thanking the public for their “overwhelming” support. Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said today that a woman named Miss Pat and employees from the Mountain Manor Treatment Center near where the crash occurred brought food for the first responders as they were working, and that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also had food delivered for them.
Smith also noted his counterparts, the media, have covered the accident with care so far. “This is not the way that a family should find out that their loved one is deceased, and that grueling and daunting task that our first responders have to go through is not something that people should see,” he said. He thanked them for keeping an appropraite distance from the scene in the early hours after the crash and for sensitively reporting on the subject.
As for their investigation, Smith said police are unsure of whether Chappell had a preexisting medical condition or had a medical event that caused him to crash into the car and bus. He also noted that while the company that owns the school bus that crashed had another bus involved in an accident in 2012, the driver was not at fault in that case.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are in town assisting the department. Smith noted that they could get preliminary autopsy results back soon that could help them find a cause, but it could be several weeks before they see full autopsy results.
For now, there will be necessary grief for people around the city, particularly those who knew and loved the victims.
“We can’t even begin to imagine the pain that the families are going through,” Smith said.
He later added, “We want to get answers for the family members of the 16 victims on these buses. We want everyone to understand and know what occurred in this situation, and hopefully it’s to ensure that something like this never happens again, not only in Baltimore, but anywhere in this country.”