TOBYHANNA, Pa. - State police are trying to determine why a tractor-trailer crossed a wide, grassy median and into the path of a charter bus taking Italian tourists to Niagara Falls, killing the bus driver and two passengers and leaving two people in critical condition.
The crash occurred Wednesday morning on Interstate 380 in the Pocono Mountains region. The bus had departed from New York and was about a quarter of the way to its first destination when police said say it collided with a tractor-trailer that had crossed into oncoming traffic.
More than a dozen people were injured and taken to hospitals. Two people remained in critical condition Thursday.
The violent crash left the mangled front end of the bus wedged into the side of the trailer. The cab of the truck came to rest on its side in the woods next to the road. The wreck closed the interstate in both directions for hours.
State police said a second tractor-trailer was involved, but they were still investigating what led to the accident.
"It's going to take a little bit of time to determine why the crash occurred," state police Trooper David Peters said Thursday.
Monroe County coroner Robert Allen said the tractor-trailer driver didn't appear to have been severely injured.
State police identified the driver as Franklin Dale Wyatt, 55, of Macomb, Oklahoma. Police said he was driving for Greatwide Dedicated Transport. Greatwide merged with Cardinal Logistics Management Corp. of Concord, North Carolina, two years ago.
"This was a terrible accident, and there are no words that can do justice to the sorrow we feel. We are praying for the families and friends of the passengers who lost their lives or were injured, and our hearts go out to everyone involved," Cardinal said in a statement Thursday.
"We are committed to learning the facts and are cooperating fully with the authorities," the company added.
Italian tour operator Viaggidea said 16 people were on the bus: 14 passengers, a tour guide and the driver. Police said the driver, Alfredo Telemaco, of New York City, died at the scene along with two passengers.
Viaggidea spokeswoman Simona Nocifora said she did not have any information on the passengers, including where they were from in Italy.
The bus owner, Academy Bus, said the driver had more than a decade of experience with the company.
After sightseeing in New York, the group was headed to Niagara Falls, then Toronto, Washington and Philadelphia, before returning to New York, according to an itinerary for the eight-day trip.