Impaired Church Bus Driver Hits Embankment Injuring Numerous People
A driver of a church bus drove up and onto an earth embankment on the Indiana Toll Road causing passengers on the bus to be injured when tossed/thrown from their seats. Preliminary investigation by Trooper Kenneth Payonk revealed at approximately 10:37 P.M., Monday, February 25th, a 1998 Motor Coach Industries bus, owned by Jesus Saves Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, and driven by Wilton B. Carr, 82 of Gary, was east bound in the right lane on I-80/90 (Indiana Toll Road) at the 9.6 mile marker (this is just before the Cline Avenue exit) when he drove straight off the roadway into the gore area that separates the mainline road from the exit (gore is grass/dirt/rocky filled area between two guard rails). When the bus drove into that area the underbelly of the bus hit a gravel/dirt embankment which caused the front tires of the bus to be completely off the ground. The impact caused people inside the bus to be tossed and thrown from some of their seats. The bus was returning from a trip to the United Center in Chicago and was loaded with approximately forty seven people (adults and children). Everyone at the scene was checked out for complaint of pain, five people (one adult, age 49 and four children-ages ranging from 10-14) were taken to local hospitals for leg injuries and head/neck pain. Further investigation revealed that Carr was driving impaired and was taken to a local hospital for a certified test to which he failed. Carr was arrested and taken to Lake County Jail in Crown Point.
Carr was charged with:
Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) causing Bodily Injury –level 6 Felony
OWI with passengers under 18 years of age-Level 6 Felony
OWI- Class C Misdemeanor
OWI Endangerment- Class A Misdemeanor
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