Fatal collision involving tour bus backs up WB I-10 - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Fatal collision involving tour bus backs up WB I-10

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The driver of a pickup truck was killed Tuesday in a head-on collision on Interstate-10 westbound in Casa Grande.

About 2 p.m., DPS received two 911 calls about a wrong way driver on I-10. Fifteen minutes later, that driver caused a massive collision.

The pickup truck was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-10 near the I-8 interchange when it collided head-on with a chartered tour bus.

The pickup burst into flames, killing the driver instantly. That driver has been identified as 78-year-old Francis Wilkens Gibson, Jr. of Casa Grande.

Nine people on board the bus were injured, including the bus driver, according to the Department of Public Safety. Two were airlifted to Casa Grande Regional Hospital in serious condition, and 7 were taken by ambulance. Everyone is expected to survive.

A semi-tractor trailer that was also westbound tried to stop at the time of the collision, but ended up striking the side of the bus as the truck jack-knifed, according to DPS. The semi driver wasn't hurt.

The bus is owned by TBC Connection, and it was bringing people from Mexico up to Phoenix for the holiday. A passenger told FOX 10 that seconds before the crash, their bus driver yelled, "hang on to something - we're going to be hit."

As for why the pickup driver was going the wrong way, DPS is looking into impairment.

"That's not uncommon in the case of a wrong way driver, but sometimes it's just confusion, mental fatigue, or diminished mental capacity. It does happen, it doesn't happen often," said DPS Capt. Brian Preston.

DPS cleared the roadway and reopened one of two lanes around 6:30 p.m. Both lanes were back open by 7 p.m. Traffic was backed up for hours.

The investigation is ongoing.

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