The road leading up to the curve might have a speed limit of 70 mph, but signs at the start of the turn tell drivers to slow to 55 mph in order to safely negotiate it before returning to their normal speed on the other side. Unfortunately, those warnings most likely went unheeded by the driver of a tour bus with dozens of people aboard. The results were catastrophic.
Once the driver entered the turn near Mount Pleasant and lost control of the giant vehicle it then hit an embankment, rolled over onto its side, and was subsequently hit by three tractor-trailers. By the time it was all over, the bus driver, two passengers, and the driver and passenger of one of the tractor-trailers would lose their lives. One of the victims was a child of only nine years old.
Two brothers traveling on the bus have now filed lawsuits against Z&D Tour Inc. claiming both compensatory and punitive damages. Quwanjay Ellis and his brother Anthony were sitting at the front of the bus when Quwanjay noted that the “bus appeared to be exceeding a safe speed and he saw the driver leaning and attempting to steer the bus toward the left as it descended a slope.” That was when passengers started screaming and the driver tried to correct the turn by heading to the right.
Anthony Ellis sustained a “broken neck, shoulder, and collarbone, and head and collar area lacerations with significant scarring. He underwent surgery and was required to have metal plates inserted into his shoulder and collarbone.” Quwanjay escaped by crawling through the front window of the bus. The incident left him with injuries to his right elbow and hand, his feet, and his chest.
The NTSB’s investigation into the circumstances of the crash will likely take years. In the meantime, passengers like the Ellis’s wait in pain and deal with the psychological fallout of surviving a horrific crash.