UPDATE: One Dead in Crash Near Litchfield, Ill.
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LITCHFIELD, IL (KMOX) – Officer Mike Link with the Illinois State Police has confirmed to KMOX News that one person has died in this afternoon’s Megabus accident.
She is identified as 25 year old Aditi Avhad. She was going to Columbia, Mo.
A spokesperson for Megabus.com confirmed in a press release that one fatality had been reported.
“We can confirm that a few passengers suffered injuries,” spokeswoman Amanda Byers said in a press release. “There has been one fatality reported at this time.”
“Safety remains our number one priority. The thoughts and prayers of our entire staff go out to the passengers involved.”
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Dozens are injured stemming from a double-decker Megabus crash on I-55 north of Litchfield around 1:20 this afternoon. The bus hit a bridge support between the north and southbound lanes of the highway at the 57-mile marker. Twenty ambulances from several departments were summoned to the scene along with eleven helicopters.
Both directions of the interstate were closed for hours but one lane in each direction has since reopened.
Sue Campbell with Memorial Hospital in Litchfield says uninjured passengers were taken to a community center in Litchfield.
One passenger, Zaq Hall, described the reactions inside.
“We were driving on the highway and I heard the front tire blow out,” Hall said. “We just went through a field and then it crashed really hard.”
“There was an older gentleman with his head stuck between two seats and I had to help him get his head out. There was another gentleman who, I don’t know, it looked like he couldn’t move anything, any of his appendages.”
Hospitals report treating upwards of 39 patients.
One was flown to Barnes Jewish Hospital in critical condition. Another is being transferred there by ambulance. St. Louis University Hospital is treating a 24-year-old man who suffered multiple fractures.
St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield says it received 22 patients. A spokeswoman tells us 18 were treated and released, one was admitted and three were transferred to Memorial Hospital in Springfield. Memorial, the closest level one trauma center to the scene, says it received six patients, four of whom were flown from the accident scene.
Carlinville Area Hospital reports receiving 8 patients. Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton treated up to four.
Amanda Byers, a spokesperson for Megabus, says the company is ”working with operations and local law enforcement to gather details.”
“At this point I can confirm that it was the Chicago- St. Louis-Columbia-Kansas City route,” Byers said. ”The bus was booked to have 81 passengers on board.”
Founded in 2006, Megabus is known for its low-cost, city-to-city travel.