At least 30 soldiers hurt in bus wreck near Bel Air Faulty brakes cited in 4-vehicle crash


At least 30 soldiers on their way to Aberdeen Proving Ground were injured yesterday evening in a chain-reaction accident near Bel Air involving three military buses.

Many of the injured were taken in 22 ambulances to Fallston General Hospital in Fallston, Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace and Franklin Square Hospital in Essex. Most of the injuries proved not serious, police said later.

But one woman, Christina J. Colstad, 19, of Princeton, Ill., stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was listed in good condition last night.

"It looked like a battlefield there with so many people hurt," said State Police Sgt. Gary Tracey of the Bel Air barracks.

Police said the accident occurred just after 6 p.m. when a car heading south on U.S. Route 1 stopped at Route 24 in the left-turn lane.

Two military buses stopped behind the car. A third military bus did not stop, however, plowing into the second bus in line, which lurched forward into the first bus, which hit the car.

State police attributed the accident to faulty breaks on the third bus and said last night that they also were investigating reports that the driver had been drinking. Charges were pending.

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