The driver of a Greyhound bus that ran off Interstate 75 and overturned in a cornfield Sept. 14 told investigators he lost consciousness before the crash that injured nearly 40 people, according to a report released Thursday.
Dwayne V. Garrett, 64, of Cincinnati, has been cited for operating a vehicle without reasonable control, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol report.
Garrett told investigators he was drinking coffee and began coughing when he lost consciousness.
“The driver stated he doesn’t remember anything for approximately one mile before the bus ran off the road. When he regained consciousness, the bus was on its side,” the report states.
Thirty-seven of the 51 passengers were injured in the bus crash, which happened just before 4 a.m. in Liberty Twp. Some victims were transported via helicopter to local hospitals. The most seriously injured sustained broken bones, concussions and internal injuries, according to the report.
Witnesses on the bus corroborated Garrett’s story. Several told investigators the driver was slumped over the wheel before the bus crashed. One witness described the driver as “nice and funny.” Another said he saw the driver sipping out of two coffee cups before he passed out.
“I just started yelling at (the driver) when I realized he was continuing off the road, but he never said anything back,” Ruthie Allen, a Michigan resident who was sent to University of Cincinnati Hospital following the accident, wrote in a statement.
Many of the Greyhound passengers told investigators they were sleeping and awoke to chaos once the bus plummeted into the cornfield.
“I was asleep and the bus started to shake and before I knew it, I was standing on the side of the bus,” wrote Brandon Parrish, a Newark, N.J., resident, in a statement to authorities. “I gathered my things, helped other people and myself off the bus. I’m bleeding and my leg is swollen and it hurts.”
More than 125 emergency responders across southwest Ohio gathered at the scene of the accident to care for the injured.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Greyhound said Garrett was still employed with the company but on an inactive status. Company officials said they were withholding comment on the incident until after the investigation was complete.
The OSHP gave Garrett a blood test, but the results of that test are not yet known. Officials did not suspect alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, according to the report.
A traffic violation in Butler County carries a fine of $125.