Authorities: Tour bus that crashed in PA, killing 5, was registered to Rockaway company
A tour bus that crashed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike over the weekend, killing five and injuring 60, was registered to a Morris County company, according to authorities.
The bus had left New Jersey and was heading to Cincinnati. Authorities say that many of the people on the bus were from Ohio and were visiting family in New York for the holidays.
Five people, including a 9-year-old, were killed early Sunday morning, when a tour bus registered to Rockaway-based Z & D Tour lost control on a hill and rolled over, setting off a chain reaction that involved three tractor-trailers and a passenger car.
According to authorities, the driver was traveling downhill Sunday around 3:40 a.m. on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mount Pleasant Township when he hit a curb, struck an embankment and flipped onto its side.
The bus driver, 58-year-old Shuang Qing Feng, of Flushing, New York, was killed, as were two passengers – 35-year-old Eileen Zelis Aria, of the Bronx, and a 9-year-old from Brooklyn.
Two UPS drivers who were traveling together were also killed. They have been identified as 48-year-old Dennis Kehler, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and 53-year-old Daniel Kepner, of Lewistown, Pennsylvania.
All were pronounced dead at the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board is taking the lead on the investigation.
"Over the next several months, we will be collecting additional information, everything from the history of the driver, history of the company, last inspection, there'll be toxicology information from the driver, so that takes time," says Jennifer Homendy, with the NTSB.
“We were told that by some of the people that were driving that the weather did start to change,” says Pennsylvania State Police Spokesman Stephen Limani. “There was some precipitation that was coming down, and I'm sure that could have played a factor, but we're so early in our investigation right now that it's hard to try and pinpoint anything specific."
Prior to this weekend's crash, federal data says Z & D Tour did not have any reported crashes in the past two years. Calls made to Z & D Tour for comment were not returned.
The injured victims, ranging from 7 to 67 years old, are all expected to survive. Officials said Sunday afternoon that two patients remained in critical condition. The American Red Cross is assisting patients and families at the hospitals.
The Pennsylvania State Police New Stanton are continuing their investigation of the crash with assistance from the National Traffic Safety Board.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.