14 hurt in bus hit and run

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

DULUTH -- Police have arrested a woman in connection with Wednesday's bus crash on Interstate 85 that injured 14, three of them critically.

Joy Christine Wilson, 32, of Lawrenceville, is being held without bond in the Gwinnett County Jail, charged with driving under the influence and felony hit and run, police said.

According to reports, at about 11:45 a.m., the bus, owned by Just People Inc., was carrying 13 special-needs adults to an art show in Hoschton when it was hit by a 1999 Honda Accord driven by Wilson.

Just People Inc. is a Norcross-based nonprofit organization that provides support services to adults with developmental disabilities, according to the company's Web site.

After being struck, reports said, the bus crossed several lanes of traffic before coming to rest on a guard rail. Initial reports were that the bus actually overturned, but Gwinnett police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly said the department's Accident Investigation Unit is still looking into that.

"As far as I know, there have been no reports that it fully overturned or rolled more than 90 degrees," Kelly said. "It may be that the vehicle did not overturn at all."

What they do know is that at least two of the bus's occupants were ejected.

One of the critically injured occupants was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center and the other two were taken by ambulance to area trauma centers, said Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

Injuries to all three are considered life-threatening, Rutledge said.

Nine victims were taken to area hospitals with serious, but non-life-threatening, injuries and two were treated and released at the scene.

It is unclear how seriously the driver was injured.

Authorities are not releasing the names of the victims, pending family notification.

According to witnesses, Wilson was traveling northbound and driving erratically before hitting the rear end of the bus.

"(The car) was observed changing lanes frequently to bypass other traffic on the roadway," Kelly said in a statement.

Kelly said Wilson stopped briefly after the accident before fleeing the scene. About an hour later, Kelly said, Wilson was found in Duluth while the car was located, and impounded, in Lawrenceville.

The accident is still under investigation and more charges are expected to be filed against Wilson, Kelly said.