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Tour Bus Crash I-90 Near Austin, Minnesota, At Least 2 Dead

A Strain Bus Lines Motorcoach crashed and rolled on Interstate 90 Wednesday afternoon. Initial reports are that at least 23 people were on the bus at the time of the crash and that at least 2 people died at the scene.

The crash happened at about 3:30 p.m. on eastbound I-90. The bus crossed over into the westbound lanes, crashed, and landed on its side in the ditch. The interstate was closed to enable medical crews to assist. Seven ambulances and six helicopters responded from the area including, Mayo Clinic, Mercy Hospital, Austin Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital (Rochester) and Naeve Hospital (Albert Lea).

According to Freeborn County Chief Deputy Gene Arnold the driver of the bus was critically injured and transported to St. Mary’s Hospital. Arnold also stated that there were not enough ambulances to transport all of the victims.

The bus was owned and operated by Strain Bus Lines Motorcoach Tours, Rochester. It was making its weekly Wednesday shuttle from Rochester, Byron, Kasson, and Blooming Prairie to Diamond Jo Casino in Northwood, Iowa and back. The passengers were mostly senior citizens.

As recently as August of 2008, the bus had some mechanical issues. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Strain Bus Line has not had a fatal crash for the past two years, but they have had a higher percentage of buses that have been taken out of service compared to other bus companies.

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