Bus crash claims four lives

Four people are dead following a bus crash early Sunday morning on the Onondaga Lake Parkway.

Kevin Coffey, 19, of Kansas, Ashwani Mehta, 34, of India, Benjamin Okorie, 35, of Malaysia, and Deanna Armstrong, 18, of New Jersey, lost their lives when a double-decker Megabus collided with the CSX Railroad Bridge that crosses over the parkway at approximately 2:30 a.m.

According to the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, the driver of the Megabus was in route to Toronto, Ontario from Philadelphia, Pa., and was scheduled to stop at the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse. After exiting Route 81 North, the bus headed north onto Onondaga Lake Parkway.

Despite numerous warning signs regarding the 10-foot 9-inch bridge (some of which were flashing yellow) and the red reflective tape covering the bottom portion of the bridge, the bus, approximately 13 feet high, continued north on the parkway.

The sheriff's department reported the top front portion of the Megabus collided with the bottom of the bridge causing the bus to fall on its passenger side and ultimately came to rest under the bridge with its front portion resting against the concrete bridge pillar.

Four passengers were deceased at the scene while the driver and 24 passengers were transported to all four major hospitals in the Syracuse area by NAVAC, NOVA and Rural/Metro with injuries ranging from minor to critical.

A Centro bus also responded to the scene and transported passengers that had very minor injuries and passengers that just wanted to be checked by a physician.

Also on scene were members of the Liverpool Fire Department, Mattydale Fire Department, Moyers Corners Fire Department, Syracuse Fire Department, Syracuse Police Department and Liverpool Police Department.

As of Sunday evening, the crash continued to be under investigation by the Sheriff's Office Accident Investigations Technicians and Criminal Investigations Detectives. No tickets or arrest had been made at that time.

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