A Florida A & M University tour bus transporting FAMU’s men and women cross country teams overturned early Thursday morning near Gaffney, S.C.
Frank Parish, driver of the 1989 MCI tour bus loss control on Interstate 85. Parrish claimed he hit a bump on the road, which caused him to lose control and flip the bus over on its side into a 25-foot ravine.
The 23-member travel party, that was sleep at the time, was headed to Greensboro, N.C. for Saturday’s 2003 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships. The bus passengers were taken to the Upstate Carolina Medical Center in Gaffney for treatment.
“We have treated 19 people for bruises, abrasions, and lacerations, no one had major injuries,” said Steve Wong Director of Marketing at Upstate Carolina Medical Center.
“They were treated, fed lunch, and released to return back to Tallahassee,” said Wong.
Wong explained that the coach was treated last due to his concern for the welfare of the students.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol launched and investigation for the accident and has concluded that the cause of the accident was due to Driver Inattention.
“Mr. Parish was not paying attention to the road and will be charged with Driver Inattention,” explained Corporal Brian McDougald of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
“Mr. Parish was traveling Northbound on I-85 and began to veer towards the right and when he swerved left to get back onto the road he struck the cable barrier in between the northbound and southbound lanes. This caused Mr. Parish to lose control and the bus overturned into a ravine,” McDougald said.
Both the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Upstate Carolina Medical Center were glad that there were no major injuries and were pleased that they were there to help.
Officials said that the teams will not participate in the MEAC Cross Country Championship and will return to campus by Thursday evening.
“The Athletic Department is extremely relived that no one was seriously injured and arrangements have been made for the teams to travel back to Tallahassee,” said Interim Athletic Director Dr. J.R.E. Lee. III.
Although the teams will not compete in the competition Ronnie Johnson, assistant director of sports Information, said the focus is on other issues.
“We are saddened that the teams will not be participating in the Championships they have trained so hard for, but our main concern is the safety and health of our students,”