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Driver charged after charter bus overturns; dozens of college students hurt

Posted at 7:48 PM, Nov 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-30 01:34:53-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Dozens of college students have been transported to area hospitals after the Abbott Trailways charter bus they were on overturned on the Powhite Parkway in Chesterfield County Sunday evening.

Sgt. Steve Vick with Virginia State Police said the bus originated in Richmond and was carrying students from Virginia Tech and Radford.

Abbott Trailways officials said the bus was chartered to take students back to campus after Thanksgiving break. Officials said another bus is on the way to take students back to campus. [Scroll down for the complete statement.]

State police confirm the bus driver was charged with reckless driving after taking the ramp too quickly.

The Injured 

Chesterfield Fire and EMS spokesman Lt. Jason Elmore said the bus was carrying 49 passengers. Two drivers were on board the bus. One driver was transported to the hospital.

One victim has critical injuries. Another 32 victims have injuries that are not life-threatening, according to Elmore. The injuries range from bumps and bruises to cuts and contusions.

Those victims have been taken to VCU Medical Center, Chippenham Medical Center and Johnston Willis.

Parents are being asked to call the hospitals directly.

    • VCU Medical Center: 804-828-9000
    • Chippenham: 804-320-3911
    • Johnston Willis: 804-330-2000

As of 8:30 p.m., WTVR CBS reporter Joe St. George said ambulances were still arriving at the scene.

“It has been a very emotional scene as parents rush to pick up their loved ones,” St. George said.

Traffic Delays 

VDOT reported the wreck, which happened around 7:30 p.m. and is not far from Powhite Park, closed the ramp from the Powhite to Chippenham Parkway (Route 150) south.  Southbound lanes of the Powhite (Route 76) were also closed for a time.

Drivers were advised to expect delays and asked to use an alternate route. The highway reopened more than five hours later around 12:40 a.m.

Virginia State Police worked the scene along with two dozen Chesterfield firefighters.

Statement from Bus Company 

Sunday night, November 29th, a motorcoach owned and operated by Abbott Trailways was involved in an accident in Richmond, Virginia.

The motorcoach was chartered to take students at Virginia Tech and Radford University back to their campuses after the Thanksgiving weekend.

At this time Abbott Trailways is fully cooperating with law enforcement officials and first responders to make sure everyone onboard the motorcoach is accounted for and anyone who needs medical attention gets it.

The cause of the accident is under investigation and Abbott Trailways is again working with police to determine what happened.

Abbott Trailways is also taking steps to make sure all of the students who wish to get to campus tonight are accommodated on another bus, which was dispatched as soon as the company learned of the accident.

Stay with WTVR.com and watch CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story. If you have information to add, please email WTVR here.