BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Authorities have identified the drivers of the bus and the other car involved in a crash that sent dozens of students to the hospital Monday morning while they were on their way to D.C. for a field trip.
Maryland State Police identified the driver of the other car involved as 20-year-old Menachem Backman, of College Park, who refused medical treatment following the crash.
Police say Backman tried passing the bus.
“His Honda Civic was traveling nearby and somehow lost control, clipped the front of the bus, and caused the bus to overturn,” says Elena Russo of the State Police.
They say Backman was not using his cell phone.
“We also know he was also not impaired at the time. We’ll review with the crash team and state attorney regarding how we will proceed. Just looking at the incident and the pictures, it looks like an incredible tragedy. We’re so lucky people came out of this without any fatal injuries,” Russo says.
The bus driver was identified as 59-year-old Clarence Beamer, of Philadelphia, PA.
State Police also released two 911 calls following Monday’s crash.
The callers remained calm during their conversation with dispatchers. The first caller reported a “bad accident” on southbound I-95 at mile marker 89, in which the bus overturned twice, and he was sure there were injuries.
The second caller told the dispatcher that she had heard three people had been ejected.
1ST CALLER: “Hi, on…on south…southbound I-95, across from northbound mile marker 89.0. Bad accident. A…a…a…a full size bus rolled over twice. People are standing there. Looks like people are coming out of the bus, but…but I’m sure there are some injuries. Do you understand the location?”
2ND CALLER: “I wanted to make sure you guys were aware of the accident…[Dispatcher: On southbound 89] Yea, someone said it was as far north as mile marker 93. They said there were three people ejected.
While all students are expected to make a full recovery, police say there were no seat belts on the charter bus.”
“There’s no telling what outcome would’ve been with seat belts on that bus,” Russo says.
Parents raced across states to reunite with their kids.
“Students that were sitting on the one side of the bus, ended up here, and then fell all the way down here so it was scary,” said Doug Rush of Philadelphia, whose son was injured in the accident.
Hospital officials say the 26 treated at the University of Maryland Medical System’s two hospitals in Harford County have been discharged. There were 17 taken to Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace and nine sent to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.
One student was flown to a Delaware hospital in critical condition but there’s no word on his condition at this time, and teacher, Brittany Jacobs, remains in critical condition at Shock Trauma.