Inaha, GA Bus Loses Brakes And Crashes, Apr 1978

THREE KILLED, DOZENS HURT IN BUS CRASH.

Inaha, Ga. (AP) -- A bus carrying 56 Boys Club members toward a holiday at Disney World skidded off a super-highway when its brakes failed, flipped over and smashed into a tree Tuesday, killing three boys and injuring dozens of others, authorities said.
The dead -- members of the Ypsilanti, Mich., Boys Club, were identified as:
SAM BATES, 11.
JASON FREEMAN, 11.
TONY SABLOWSKI, 13.
The accident occurred as the driver tried to hold the bus on a banked, right-hand curve leading into a rest stop along Interstate 75 in south-central Georgia, State Trooper Bert Connell said.
Connell said he did not believe that the bus was traveling at an unsafe speed or that any violation was involved. However, a state patrol spokesman in Atlanta said the wreck will be investigated by the Federal Motor Safety Board, which will report to the National Transportation Safety Board.
"The wheel cylinder blew out on the left rear tire running around 45 miles per hour, and she (the driver) couldn't brake it down," Connell said. "Going into the curve loaded like it was, it just rolled and the top of the bus went into a tree."
"That wheel cylinder on the brakes just blew out when she hit the brakes. Every time she it it, it just pumped fluid. There was no braking action," the trooper said.
Connell said children were scattered around the wrecked bus when he reached the scene shortly after 9 a.m. "The kids were taking it real good," the trooper said. "A couple of them were real upset, particularly one whose cousin was one of the fatalities. But all in all, they took it real good."
Thirteen persons were admitted to hospitals in nearby Ashburn and Tifton, some in serious condition, and 38 others were treated for injuries and released, a hospital spokesman in Ashburn said.
The uninjured and the less seriously injured were housed temporarily at a high school gymnasium in Ashburn.
Mark Dixon, 16, one of the uninjured reached by telephone at the gym, said children aboard the bus felt the brakes go out.
"The driver tried to keep it on the road, but as the road kept going around, she couldn't hold it," he said. "The bus hit a tree and the front came in. A lot of people were pinned in. Most in the back weren't hurt too bad."
The 1967, 66-seat converted school bus, driven by Boys Club staff member SUE CONDON, 24, was following a van loaded with 16 other club members and chaperones when it turned into the rest area from the southbound lanes of I-75.

Wisconsin State Journal Madison 1978-04-12