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Investigators inspect bus in Ohio cornfield crash

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DAN SEWELL | September 16, 2013 03:06 PM EST | AP

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CINCINNATI — Investigators on Monday examined the brakes and other parts of a Greyhound bus that ran off an interstate and flipped over in southwest Ohio over the weekend.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was getting help from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Butler County Sheriff's office in trying to determine what happened along Interstate 75 in the early morning hours Saturday. At least 35 people were injured; six remained hospitalized Monday.

"We're still putting together pieces of the puzzle," said Highway Patrol Lt. Edward Mejia. "We haven't determined the cause."

Mejia said the 64-year-old driver was injured after being trapped inside the overturned bus, but Mejia didn't have an update on the extent of his injuries or condition. He said the driver, Dwayne Garrett of Cincinnati, gave a statement to investigators and voluntarily had blood drawn for testing. Results from the state laboratory in Columbus probably won't be known for at least a week, he said.

A passenger told WCPO-TV that he thought Garrett might have experienced a medical problem. Mejia said the driver was "conscious and alert" at the scene, but declined to discuss any details about him.

Greyhound Lines Inc. spokeswoman Alexandra Pedrini said the driver was rested and has 15 years of experience "with a clean record." Greyhound also said the bus had recently undergone an annual inspection.

She referred other questions to the highway patrol.

The patrol had investigators checking the bus' brakes and other mechanical systems on Monday, Mejia said.

Highway Patrol spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston in Columbus said investigators also want to view bus surveillance video to see if it offers any clues to what happened in the minutes before the crash. She said they will work with Greyhound to review the video.

U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman Duane DeBruyne said its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was working with state and local authorities in the investigation.

The crash happened at about 4 a.m. on I-75 near Monroe, some 25 miles north of Cincinnati. The bus was going from Cincinnati to Detroit when it ran off the interstate, hitting a tree and fence before coming to a stop in a cornfield.

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