Driver in I-95 bus crash fell asleep, police say


An article in yesterday's editions reported that Michelle Gardin was treated and released from Harford Memorial Hospital after a bus accident near Aberdeen. Ms. Gardin remains hospitalized.

The Sun regrets the errors.

The bus driver who state police say fell asleep at the wheel and crashed along Interstate 95 about 1 a.m. yesterday was treated at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore and released before noon, a hospital spokesman said.

More than 30 of the 55 passengers aboard the Peter Pan Trailways bus bound from New York to Washington, D.C., suffered minor injuries, police said.

None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, although two of the five victims flown to the trauma center underwent surgery, a trauma center spokesman said.

The driver, Lawrence C. Ballard, 32, of Lorton, Va., has not been charged. But state police said the investigation is continuing and will be assisted by a National Transportation Safety Board team.

A charge of negligent driving is not unusual when drivers fall asleep, police said.

Police said the bus was heading south on Interstate 95 between Route 22 and Route 543 in Harford County at 12:55 a.m. yesterday when it smashed head-on into a pole as it entered a ramp leading to the Maryland House restaurant. The restaurant is in a rest area between the north and south lanes of the highway.

The bus traveled about 1,100 feet on a grass median before striking a large overhead sign pole, police said.

The most seriously injured passengers were ejected through the windows. Mr. Ballard was pinned behind the steering wheel, police said.

Investigators said Mr. Ballard apparently took no action to avoid hitting the pole, and no skid marks were visible.

Three state police helicopters and 15 ambulances were dispatched to transport the injured.

Besides Mr. Ballard, the victims flown to the trauma center were Ronald H. Carter, 41, of Gardenville; Freda C. Sims, 51, of Druid Hill; William E. Bruce, 52, of East Baltimore; and Song Z. Chen, 36, of an unknown address.

Treated and released at Fallston General Hospital were Gregory Durant, 29, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Anjeko Radoucic, 25, Piney Point; William Trautwein, 29, Baltimore; Samantha King, 23, Abingdon; Karen Johnson, 37, New Carrollton; and Yaroslau Rochniak, 37, Ellicott City.

Treated and released at Franklin Square Hospital were Jaqulyn Porter, 45, Washington, D.C.; Tamika Green, 22, Baltimore; Albert Navarro, 25, Camp Spring; Chantal Collins, 26, Brooklyn, tTC N.Y.; Abeberra Eqsehens, 25, Washington, D.C.; and Seyoum Eqsehens, 23, Washington, D.C..

Treated and released at Harford Memorial Hospital were Marian Vinnitska, 37, Baltimore; Robert Howard, 23, Baltimore; Paul Mark, 31, Baltimore; Tiakeya Kidmell, 16, Baltimore; Nicole Andrews, 21, New York City; Winnie Thomas, 33, Washington, D.C.; Michelle Gardin, 34, New Haven, Conn.; Todd McJunken, 22, Laurelton, N.J.; Shek Yui Kwan, 35, New York City; Edward Pinckney, 34, Baltimore; Cecilia Johnson, 38, Washington, D.C.; Rebecca Johnson, 21, Washington, D.C.; Diego Lavegas, 23, Arlington, Va.; Sharon Brown, 30, Suitland; and Catherine Sampsell, 29, Baltimore.

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