HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police are investigating after a passenger on a GRTC CARE bus was killed in a crash in Henrico.
State Police responded around 6:10 p.m. Tuesday for a reported crash on I-64 near mile marker 179 near Short Pump.
Troopers said the preliminary investigation shows a black Chevrolet Silverado was merging onto I-64 east from Route 250 (Broad Street) and struck a white Ford E-450 bus. The bus ran off the road to the right.
The Silverado then struck a tractor-trailer that was in the center lane and overturned.
GRTC spokeswoman Carrie Rose Pace confirmed Wednesday, the bus involved in the crash was a GRTC CARE van.
CARE services provide an “origin-to-destination” service for residents under guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This allows for people with disabilities access to public transportation who may not be reasonably able to use a GRTC fixed route.
“These are pre-planned trips that are part of that person’s daily routine, daily life,” Pace said. “Our CARE drivers take that very seriously and have such compassion for our customers.”
It is why Tuesday’s crash has left many at GRTC in shock and disbelief.
“We are deeply grieved to have lost a passenger due to the multi-vehicle accident last night,” Pace said. “It’s just so heartbreaking and we are thinking about the passenger’s loved ones, and family.”
“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of our deceased passenger, and we pray for our CARE driver recovering,” said GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm. “GRTC staff are working closely with First Transit staff to assist State Police with their investigation. It is possible our onboard cameras may provide crucial information into the chain reaction accident.”
There is no word on how the sole passenger aboard the CARE bus died, but there are safety measures in place.
“If you are in a mobility device, just like on a regular bus, you are secured to the van,” Pace said. “If you are a passenger seated in the van, regular seating, you have seat belts. We ask our CARE passengers, even if they are ambulatory, to buckle up.”
The driver of the bus, a 53-year-old female, of Richmond, and the driver of the Silverado, a 51-year-old male, of New Kent County, were transported to local hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
The bus’s only passenger, Doris W. Hughes, 68, of Richmond, was transported for treatment of life-threatening injuries and later died at the hospital.
Meanwhile, a GRTC spokeswoman said onboard cameras are located both inside and outside the van to capture both audio and video while the vehicle is in operation.
That footage has been sent to VSP who are working to identify other details in this crash.
Meanwhile, Pace encourages more awareness on the road as the number of crashes has increased during the pandemic.
“We at GRTC have seen an increase in accidents, thankfully a majority of them are not serious, but distracted driving has been a problem,” she said.
State Police have not whether distracted driving was a factor in the crash or whether any charges will be filed.
The investigation is ongoing.
Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.