Greyhound bus crash sends 32 passengers to hospitals in central Utah

Dec 28, 2021, 8:02 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2021, 3:40 pm

EMERY COUNTY, Utah — A Greyhound bus crash in rural Emery County late Monday sent 32 passengers to hospitals for treatment of injuries. No lives were lost in the accident that occurred at milepost 112 in a remote section of Interstate 70.

The Emery County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center was notified at 11:48 p.m. when passengers began calling one reporting that the bus left the road and was upside down in a ditch.

Sgt. Cameron Roden from the Utah Highway Patrol said, “For a reason that’s still under investigation, the bus veered off the right side of the road, went off on the shoulder about 100 yards before it overturned.”

Emery County ambulance and fire departments responded to the incident, as did ambulances from Carbon, Sanpete, Sevier and Wayne counties. Additional support came from several other agencies in the area.

Compounding the situation was the lack of nearby medical facilities. The accident was 36 miles from Emery (none), 48 miles from Green River (no hospital), 71 miles from Richfield, and 92 miles from Price.

Jack Funk, Mayor-elect of Emery said, “When the chips are down and there’s an emergency, everyone rallies around and just comes together.”

(Used by permission, Emery County Sheriff's Office) (Used by permission, Emery County Sheriff's Office) (Used by permission, Emery County Sheriff's Office) (Used by permission, Emery County Sheriff's Office)

Helicopters were unavailable due to adverse weather conditions at the time.

Officials confirmed that there were a total of 36 passengers and one driver on the bus, 32 people were ultimately transported to three different hospitals.

“I cannot say enough about the cooperation between counties,” said Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk. ” To get that many ambulances from five counties to such a remote location, as well as support from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office and AP&P to help with the injured passengers, it was an incredible effort on a frigid winter night.”

Members of the community, including the Emery Ward, were also praised for providing assistance in the crisis.

Passengers who were not injured were taken to a nearby church in Emery for shelter and to wait for Greyhound to pick them up.

“The Bishop called up and said, we’ve got some bacon, some pancake mix and we just started,” said Funk. “Got some orange juice, some friends and neighbors down here that brought orange juice, different things. Just started getting ready so we could take care of the people coming in.'”

“I am extremely proud of our EMS staff and the way they responded. They performed above and beyond,” said county commissioner Kent Wilson. “Emery County has five separate ambulance garages and our EMTs are paid volunteers.”

Every garage responded at midnight during the holiday season. I am also grateful for our neighboring counties who helped in time of crisis.”

At daylight, crews arrived and worked through much of the day to get the bus upright, out of the dirt, and to the side of the road so it can be towed.

“Especially a bus where there are so many people on board and so many people affected, very dangerous and scary situation.”

In a tweet, Gov. Spencer Cox said: “So grateful for our rural first responders who worked through terrible conditions to rescue the injured last night.”

Four years ago, on New Year’s Eve of 2017, a Greyhound bus crashed along the same stretch of the interstate just a mile from Monday night’s crash. The 2017 crash killed a 13-year-old girl and injured 12 people.

The Utah Highway Patrol is leading the investigation for Monday night’s crash but it has reached out to the National Transportation Safety Board to see if they want to conduct an investigation.

Greyhound issued the following statement: “We can confirm an incident occurred on schedule 1683 on I-70 between Richfield and Green River Utah. Our thoughts and prayers are with all who were impacted by today’s events. We are unable to provide additional details at this time as our primary focus is on the safety and security of our customers and driver.”

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Greyhound bus crash sends 32 passengers to hospitals in central Utah