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Veteran driver dead, 5 in hospital after bus crash near Hoover Dam

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Updated: 10/20/2012 1:12 pm
BOULDER CITY (KSNV MyNews3) -- A veteran tour bus driver is dead and at least five people are recovering from injuries suffered Friday night in a crash about 19 miles south of the Hoover Dam.

Eight injured people were transported to UMC in Las Vegas after the bus veered off the right lane of northbound U.S. 93 shortly before 8 p.m. Twenty-seven passengers who suffered less serious injuries were transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center on another bus. Several patients were taken to Boulder City Hospital, but the hospital refused to release any information today.

UMC spokeswoman Danita Cohen said this morning that three of the eight remain at UMC and the other five have been treated and released. One is in serious condition and two are in fair condition. She did not have their genders. All of the patients were over 50 years of age. Most of the injuries were broken bones and lacerations.

Of the 27 taken to the Kingman hospital, two remained in fair condition this morning, said hospital spokeswoman Jamie Taylor. One was an 82-year-old female being held for observation and the other was a 36-year-old female who was in sugery Saturday afternoon for a shattered ankle.

The Silver State Trailways bus, chartered to Grand Canyon Tours, was northbound on U.S. 93 when the driver suffered a "catastrophic medical event" and lost control, said Carrick R. Cook, a spokesman for the Arizona Highway Patrol.  

The bus driver was declared dead at the scene. No other vehicles were involved, said Bart Graves of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The bus company has an office in North Las Vegas.

"It is like losing a member of the family," Karen Rancilio, owner of Grand Canyon Tours said about the driver, who had driven the route for about eight years. "I understand that many of the passengers taken on a bus to the hospital were more worried about the driver and his family than they were about their injuries. He was always about great customer service."

Tony Fiorini, owner of Silver State Trailways, confirmed that the 2011 mode bus and driver were chartered by Grand Canyon Tours. He said the bus was equipped with seat belts.

Arizona officials said Friday night that all 48 passengers suffered some injuries, most of them not serious. After leaving the roadway the bus hit a ravine, bounced up a hill and covered about 700 feet of rough terrain before stopping. It remained upright, Cook said.

Graves said the 2011 model bus was towed to Kingman and will be inspected as a regular part of the accident investigation.


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