RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The ramp from Powhite Parkway south to Chippenham Parkway south is closed due to an overturned Abbott Trailways bus. According to Lt. Jason Elmore of the Chesterfield County Fire and EMS, 33 riders were injured. Thirty-two of the injuries are non-life threatening, one is critical.
Hours after the crash, the bus is still on its side, blocking the exit ramp.
The crash happened sometime after 7 p.m. The bus was on 76 SB, as it entered the ramp to get on to 150 SB, it crashed, landing on its side. The bus, operated by Abbott Bus Lines of Roanoke, Va., had 51 people onboard, including two drivers. According to Virginia State Police, students from Radford University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech were on the bus. They were returning from their fall break.
A parent told 8News that the kids were returning to school from fall break, and the pick-up spot was at Virginia Commonwealth University.
There were some injuries, mostly bumps, bruises, and cuts. There were no fatalities.The injured were transported to the VCU Medical Center, Chippenham Johnston-Willis, St. Mary’s, Henrico Doctor’s Forrest Hills Campus, and Southside Regional Hospital.
“When you have a bus of this size, with that many students on it and it overturns like this in a crash, absolutely we are very fortunate that there weren’t more injured seriously than they were,” said Lt. Jason Elmore of the Chesterfield County Fire and EMS.
Officials labeled this a mass casualty situation so that they could get all the possible resources from surrounding jurisdictions. Parents had just dropped their kids off at the bus pick up spot.
When the bus flipped over, many of those students called their parents telling them the bus had crashed. So, all throughout the evening, concerned parents were running to the scene to make sure their kids are ok.
“I dropped them off at VCU, they were headed back to Radford tonight to go back to school,” said parent Deborah Baldwin. “I was on my way home; I got a call that said the bus flipped over on Chippenham.
“I was coming down Hull Street, so I just turned and came over here. And they’re putting them in the ambulance right now — her and my niece, so I have to go to the hospital to see what’s going on.”
Officials are still investigating the cause of this crash.
The bus was coming from Virginia Commonwealth University with students on board to take them to Radford University and Virginia Tech.
Abbott Trailways sent the following statement:
On Sunday night, November 29, a motorcoach owned and operated by Abbott Trailways was involved in an accident in Richmond, Virginia.
The motorcoach was chartered to take students at Virginia Tech and Radford University back to their campuses after the Thanksgiving weekend
At this time, Abbott Trailways is fully cooperating with law enforcement officials and first responders to make sure everyone onboard the motorcoach is accounted for and anyone who needs medical attention gets it.
The cause of the accident is under investigation and Abbott Trailways is again working with police to determine what happened.
Abbott Trailways is also taking steps to make sure all of the students who wish to get to campus tonight are accommodated on another bus, which was dispatched as soon as the company learned of the accident.
According to the Virginia State Police, the bus driver, Thomas B. Chidester, 58, of Salem, Va., was charged with reckless driving.
The Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Team is also on scene to conduct a safety check of the bus and is assisting with the ongoing investigation into the cause of the crash.