Bus Accident On Highway 90 Bridge Injures 43

The scene at the foot of the Highway 90 bridge near Casino Row was chaotic. Firemen could be heard yelling, "I need one person to go down to the end of the street here and keep this lane open for the ambulances to come in and turn around."

The ambulances were for many of the 43 people injured in a chain reaction accident. "All I know is we got hit from behind," said one passenger. Another told us, "Nobody knew what happened. But everybody was thrown up against the seat in front." A third simply said the inside of his chartered bus "was just like a tornado went through it."

The mid-morning collision shut down the westbound lanes of the Biloxi Ocean Springs bridge. At the scene, Biloxi investigator Mike Manna said, "It appears the brakes went out on the bus."

Because the brakes didn't work, the chartered bus from Pensacola hit a bus in front of it with enough force to smash a windshield and jam the front door. Russell Byrd was on the bus without any brakes. "It was utter confusion," he said. "The host went right through the window."

The host sat on the bus with a towel over her bloody head while Biloxi firemen tried to pry open the door. But without working brakes, the bus started rolling forward. Firemen found a way to stop the bus before more damage was done. Moments later, the bus door was open.

Many of the injured passengers who stepped off the two buses went to makeshift triage centers. From there, they went to the hospital.

The driver in the car at the front of this chain reaction accident needed an ambulance to take him to the hospital. So did five of the injured bus passengers. All together, 43 people suffered mostly bumps, bruises and cuts that needed medical attention.

Besides the AMR ambulances, emergency crews used shuttle buses from Casino Magic and the Isle of Capri to take injured passengers to the hospital. Fourteen passengers went to Gulf Coast Medical Center. They were all treated and released. The other 29 went to Biloxi Regional Medical Center. And they've all been sent home as well.

by Brad Kessie