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Rainy night rollover of ATA bus hospitalizes 14

Fourteen people were admitted to hospitals after a car-bus crash in Platte County. Observers said rain-covered roads may have prevented a car driver from getting out of the way of a Kansas City Area Transportation Authority vehicle.

The auto accident happened on a stormy weeknight around 8 p.m. Police reports said a small ATA bus with a dozen passengers on board was moving along a mainline when a vehicle from a side street pulled out in front of it. A witness said the car's tires spun wildly but gained no traction on the wet road.

The bus veered right, swerving on the slick pavement, but not quickly enough to avoid bouncing off the car. The force of the impact shoved the mass transit vehicle into a newly-installed curb and sent the 25-foot bus flying.

The ATA bus flipped over as it plummeted down an embankment, ending up on its roof. The outer metal panel on one entire side of the bus was ripped from its frame.

Residents helped some of the bus accident victims piled on one another in the shakeup. Emergency personnel extricated two people. Injury victims included the drivers in both vehicles. A pair of passengers in the car was unhurt.

Kansas City, Missouri, police were surprised the injuries were not more severe, considering the vehicle damage. One person was hospitalized in serious condition. None of the injuries among the 14 victims was life threatening.

Officials with ATA stated the injured bus operator was an experienced driver. A transit authority investigation will parallel the police probe. Investigators have already ruled out any influence of alcohol.

Investigators will look for driver negligence beyond the weather conditions. Police will want to know whether the bus was travelling too fast for conditions and whether the car driver failed to yield.

Hospital bills for the 14 injury victims are adding up fast, extraordinary expenses that may have been caused by negligence. Victims have the right to sue for compensation to cover costs associated with the rollover accident.

Source: kansascity.com, "Fourteen people injured as ATA bus flips over on slick road," Matt Campbell, Aug. 9, 2012

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