Fatal bus accident on I-95 Turns Fairfield County Into Traffic Disaster

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Fatal bus accident on I-95 Turns Fairfield County Into Traffic Disaster

Justin Schwebel, Staff Writer

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A coach bus carrying 49 people rear-ended a tractor trailer on Wednesday afternoon on I-95 in Norwalk, killing the driver and sending 18 passengers to the hospital.

According to a press release, prepared by Incident Commander and Deputy Chief Chris King,  the crash occurred at 3:19 p.m. between exits 15 and 14 on I-95 South in Norwalk. Moments after fire companies arrived, they learned that the driver of the bus was pinned inside his vehicle.

First responders used hydraulic and hand tools to rescue the driver, an operation that took 15 minutes. The press release states that the driver was taken to the hospital in serious condition. However, Norwalk Assistant Fire Chief Laurence Reilly told Inklings News, “The driver of the bus died after arriving at Norwalk Hospital.” The Connecticut  Post identified the driver as Henry J. Woolfson of Hackensack, New Jersey.

Of the 49 people traveling from Boston to New York, 18 were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The passengers were transported in ambulances from Norwalk, Darien, Wilton, Westport and AMR.

Due to the severity of the accident and the number of passengers involved, Norwalk EMS set up a mass casualty command post. First responders also declared a mass casualties incident, which “brought in resources from surrounding towns and put area hospitals on alert for the possibility of multiple patients arriving,” according to King’s press release.   

Three out of the four lanes were closed for many hours, and all four lanes were periodically shut down to allow emergency vehicles to pass. The highway didn’t fully open until approximately 9:00 p.m. , almost six hours after the accident occurred, creating extensive delays for many drivers.

Tyler Thomas ’16, who was traveling to the Post Road off exit 14 in Norwalk, “I left my house at 5:15 and saw a car backing up the entrance ramp,”  Thomas said.  “It took us two hours to go half a mile.”

Social studies teacher Robert Shamberg uses the Merritt Parkway and I-91 to commute each day. Shamberg, who was unaware of the accident during his evening commute, noticed the extra congestion. “It took a half hour extra to get home,” Shamberg said. “It was horrible.”

The congestion in town was due to drivers who gave up on I-95 and attempted to get to their destinations using secondary roads and routes.
The Connecticut State Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

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