A 59-year old tour bus operator who was killed in a crash with a jackknifed trailer is being praised posthumously for his expert handling of a dangerous situation.
Darnell Hannah of Millstone, New Jersey was operating the tour bus for Triple D Travel, carrying 31 passengers to sites in Sugarbush and Stowe, Vermont when his vehicle crested a hill on state Route 22A in West Haven, 60 miles south of Burlington, and came upon the trailer which was blocking the road. In attempting to avoid crashing into the vehicle the driver lost control and crashed into the roadside guard rails and the trailer. The driver was trapped in the trailer’s wreckage and died as a result of his injuries. Of the 31 other people on the bus, two were reported to have suffered moderate injuries while others were said to have sustained minor injuries. The majority of the injured, as well as the driver, were taken to Rutland Regional Medical Center, while others were taken to Porter Hospital in Middlebury. A spokesperson for Rutland Hospital indicated that one passenger had been admitted overnight while the others were released. Porter Hospital released no information on the crash victims that it attended to.
According to police the vehicle was driving north to the two ski resort areas at the time of the crash. The owners of the tour bus company, Triple D Travel of New Jersey said through spokesman Thomas Fay that their driver’s actions at the time of the accident had saved the lives of passengers. “Based on various accounts, his skilled bus operation prevented serious injury to many of his bus passengers as he faced a 53 foot tractor trailer blocking the entire roadway.”
Little information is available about the trucking company or the driver of the truck. Police indicate that the truck was owned by JP Logistics and was transporting coffee products when it jackknifed while it was heading south on Vermont’s Route 22A. Roads were covered with ice at the time of the crash, a factor that police indicate contributed to the tragedy. Vermont police treated the accident scene as a mass casualty incident, calling on several emergency response units to assist. The bus driver was the father of 11 children.