EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 28, 2013

Miraculously, few injured in I-95 bus crash

GEORGETOWN — “It was a miracle, that’s all I can say.”

Georgetown Fire Chief Albert Beardsley said that when a commercial passenger bus hurtled out of control, went airborne twice, and slammed into a forest of small trees off the northbound side of Interstate-95 Tuesday night, it was sheer luck nobody was killed or more seriously injured.

Instead, the bus driver was in fair condition in a Boston hospital, one of the 17 players from the University of Maine women’s basketball team broke her wrist, and the head coach was treated for minor facial cuts.

“We all wonder how the bus made it across the highway,” Beardsley said. “It was amazing. You cross over that highway at almost any time and there’s always a level of traffic on it.”

Not Tuesday night, fortunately.

“I was responding to the accident from Masconomet (High School),” he said. “I didn’t see much traffic until I got close to the accident scene.”

He added, “It’s a miracle we didn’t have more injuries and more severe injuries.”

Freshman guard Milica Mitrovic of Serbia broke her hand, and head coach Richard Barron was treated for minor facial cuts and bruises. The bus driver, Jeffrey S. Hamlin of Charleston, Maine, was listed in fair condition yesterday at Boston Medical Center. The cause of his original medical problem was not released.

At about 8:25 p.m., a bus from John T. Cyr & Sons Inc. of Old Town, Maine, carrying 20 passengers, including 17 teammates and 3 coaches, was headed south on Interstate 95 in Georgetown. The bus had just passed the Jewett Street overpass when the driver was stricken with some kind of medical malady, possibly a heart attack.

Much to the horror of passengers, he slumped over the steering wheel, and the bus began veering out of control.

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