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2 Dead in Minnesota Casino Bus Crash

Nov 19, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

A fatal bus crash on I-90 in Minnesota killed two women and injured more than a dozen others.  According to a report on StarTribune.com, it could be weeks before the cause of the bus accident is known.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the bus crash occurred about 3:20 p.m about2 miles west of Austin.  The bus crossed the median and the westbound lanes. It ended up in the ditch, where it flipped over, landing with the door side down.  There was no construction going on in the area of the accident and weather was not a factor. 

The bus, which was owned by  Strain Tours bus company of Rochester, Minnesota, was headed back from a casino in Northwood, Iowa.  The casino trip was a weekly event.

StarTribune.com is reporting that the driver of the bus suffered a ruptured aneurysm in his chest, causing him to lose consciousness.  However, the Minnesota State Patrol has not confirmed this.  The driver has been interviewed by police, but they aren't saying yet what he told them.

Pamela S. Holmquist, 56, of Kasson, and Rhonda R. Hill, 52, of Plainview  died as a result of the crash.  Ten passengers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, and eight were treated and released at area hospitals.  Only one passenger escaped injury.

According to StarTribune.com,  I-90 was shut down in both directions immediately after the crash.. Eastbound traffic resumed about 8 p.m., while the westbound lanes reopened before 10 p.m.

Commercial vehicle inspectors and reconstruction specialists will begin an investigation today, but it likely will be several weeks before it is known what caused the accident.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Strain Tours has reported no crashes in the past 24 months. But StarTribune.com is reporting that Bold Lines, the corporate name of the bus company, paid $20,000 to settle an enforcement case over drug testing for drivers.  It also paid $300 to settle a case over driver duty times and recordkeeping.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has  also advised roadside inspectors to inspect the company's vehicles because of safety concerns, StarTribune.com said.


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