A tour bus carrying three dozen passengers to casinos in Delaware collided with two cars on the Bay Bridge yesterday, injuring 13 people and bringing beach traffic to a standstill for hours.
A 1979 bus heading east struck the rear of a Chevy van in the left- hand lane shortly after 1 p.m., sending the van careening into a Ford Explorer, said Cpl. Greg Prioleau, spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority police.
Police shut down the eastbound lanes of the bridge for 2 1/2 hours.
One of six passengers in the van was injured seriously when the television monitor affixed to the interior roof of the car dislodged and struck Sylvia V. Holsey, 46, of Dover, Del., in the head.
Holsey, who was sitting in the seat behind the driver, was flown by MedEvac helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she was listed in fair and stable condition last night.
The van's other five passengers were taken along with the Explorer's three passengers to a hospital in Annapolis with nonlife-threatening injuries, Prioleau said.
Four of the bus' 37 passengers were injured. Two refused treatment at the scene.
Mildred Newman, 65, of Washington, and Joseph Washington, 68, of Washington, were taken by ambulance to Annapolis with minor injuries.
The bus, owned by Arriva Coach Tour Buses, was heading to Midway Casinos in Delaware from Washington. Arriva sent a replacement bus to pick up the passengers.
Despite the apparent minor damage to the three vehicles, the accident brought eastbound traffic to a stop for much of the afternoon, at one point creating a backup of 4 miles to exit 29 in Cape St. Claire. Rubbernecking created delays for westbound traffic.
Prioleau said the delay was because eight ambulances and the helicopter were needed to treat the victims, and accident reconstructionists needed time to investigate.
As thousands of people waited in the hot sun for the bridge to reopen, the scene appeared more like a festival than a traffic jam, with people sunning themselves on top of their cars and blasting music.
Others stretched out on blankets on the grassy areas to the side of the road.
Westbound lanes were also backed up for almost a mile from people slowing down to view the wreckage.
After the bridge reopened at 4 p.m., it took hours before traffic resumed regular speed.