Tour bus rolls over in N.H., injuring 17

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Associated Press / March 22, 2011

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LITTLETON, N.H. — A tour bus of Korean citizens headed from Canada to New Jersey rolled over on a snowy New Hampshire interstate last night, injuring at least 17 of the 25 people aboard, authorities said.

None of the injuries was life-threatening, firefighters said. The tour bus accident is the third in the Northeast this month, including a crash in New York City in which 15 people were killed.

In New Hampshire, a light early spring snow had fallen, bringing with it intermittent fog to the area where the driver lost control on Interstate 93 in Littleton, near the Vermont border.

The passengers were touring the United States and Canada, Littleton Fire Chief Joe Mercieri said.

A representative of the bus operator, Big Boy Coach Inc. of Flushing, N.Y., said he was on his way to the site to pick up the passengers late yesterday. He said police told him that most of the passengers who had been taken to hospitals were expected to be released soon.

Fuel spilled after the accident, and state officials were called in to help clean it up.

On March 12, a bus headed from a Connecticut casino to New York City’s Chinatown crashed into a pole in the Bronx, killing 15.

The driver, Ophadell Williams, said yesterday that he is “having a difficult time.’’ Williams told NBC’s New York affiliate that he was having difficulty breathing and is “really hurt about the whole situation.’’

Investigators are looking into whether he was asleep or distracted at the wheel. He has not been charged.

New York increased its enforcement of tour buses after the crash, pulling buses and drivers off the road over the weekend at checkpoints statewide in a case that is focusing attention on tour bus safety nationwide, officials said.

And last week in New Jersey, a bus crashed as it traveled from New York City’s Chinatown to Philadelphia, killing the driver and a passenger and injuring dozens of others.