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Last updated 10:02PM ET
March 7, 2021
20 Children Hurt in Bus Accident
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - A charter bus carrying dozens of elementary school children on a field trip ran off Interstate 59 and flipped over Friday, injuring 20 people in the second major crash for the transportation company in less than a month.

None of the injuries in the school bus wreck on I-59 were believed to be life-threatening.

Because of the wrecks, federal regulators say they plan to conduct a full compliance review of the firm, Adventure Bus Charter and Tours Inc. of Sumiton, which hasn't had a full safety audit since 1995.

A Marine died in the earlier accident involving a coach owned by the company.

State troopers said an Adventure bus bound for the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tenn., with 40 students and two teachers from Bryan Elementary School in Jefferson County overturned about 7:30 a.m. CDT on I-59 about 30 miles northeast of Birmingham. The bus came to rest upside down on the grassy roadside.

State trooper spokesman David Richards said none of the injuries appeared life-threatening, but the driver, a teacher and two students had injuries, including fractures and head trauma. Sixteen more students were evaluated or treated for less-severe injuries, including scrapes and bruises.

"Three buses were traveling together. One bus left the road, hit a guard rail and overturned on the right shoulder," Richards said.

The wreck came less than three weeks after a coach owned by Adventure overturned at Fort Rucker on March 9, injuring 23 people, including a Marine corporal who later died. The driver in that crash was charged with reckless driving, but there was no word of charges against the school charter driver, identified as Gerald F. Bailey, 75, of Cullman.

The Birmingham News quoted unidentified students as saying a teacher jumped up and tried to drive the bus after the driver apparently passed out and the vehicle swerved.

Adventure president and owner Doyle Cummings declined comment on the latest crash. "I don't know nothing," he said.

Records of the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration show Adventure has a satisfactory safety record and fares better than the national average during roadside inspections of vehicles and driver records. But inspectors haven't reviewed the entire company's operations since Feb. 9, 1995.

Duane DeBruyne, a spokesman for the agency, said inspectors would go over all of Adventure's driver and vehicle records starting next week.

"The company had been flagged" because of the accident at Rucker, he said. "The fact of this event (on Friday) means we will be commencing a compliance review on Monday."

Adventure has 38 buses and employs 64 drivers, records show.

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