Bus driver’s autopsy report could help explain deadly crash

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Bus driver’s autopsy report could help explain deadly crash
Bus driver’s autopsy report could help explain deadly crash

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Autopsy results on a bus driver who died while ferrying a high school band from Florida to Texas may help show why the vehicle careened wildly across a highway before plunging down a steep embankment, police said Wednesday.

The driver, 65-year-old Harry Caligone, was the only person killed in the crash, and a medical examiner’s report could reveal whether he had a health problem linked to the wreck, said Capt. John Malone of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

About three dozen people went to hospitals after the accident, and nine remained hospitalized Wednesday.

The bus, carrying 46 students and adults from Disney World to Channelview High School in suburban Houston, unexpectedly left the westbound lane of Interstate 10 before dawn Tuesday.

Malone said the bus veered across the median into the eastbound lane before shooting back into the grass median and driving off the ravine.

“It actually hit the guard rail on the eastbound side and was directed back into the median,” he said.

There were no signs of skid marks, Malone said, indicating the driver didn’t apply the brakes in a hurry.

“It just rolled,” Malone said.

The crash happened on a rural stretch between Pensacola, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.

A student told the media that the band director called the driver called out “Harry” several times before the crash, but Malone said investigators haven’t determined what happened aboard the bus.

Caligone’s sister-in-law, Angela Caligone, 58, of Houston, said Caligone had been a bus driver for more than 20 years, the last 15 years with First Class Tours Inc. of Houston.

Caligone said her brother-in-law had just passed a physical with “flying colors.” A company spokesman said Caligone had a checkup earlier this month but didn’t provide details on the results.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it had investigators at the scene. The agency planned a late-afternoon news briefing to discuss its preliminary work.

Emergency personnel looks into a bus that crashed into a ravine in Loxley, Ala., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The bus carrying dozens of students and six adults from Channelview crashed early Tuesday on Interstate 10 near the Alabama-Florida line. The driver died and about three dozen others went to hospitals. (Gregg Pachkowski/Pensacola News Journal via AP)
Community members attend a prayer vigil in the parking lot of the Bill Neal Center next to Channelview High School, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Channelview, Texas. The crash of a charter bus carrying a high school band from Florida to Texas left a driver dead and about three dozen people injured in south Alabama. (Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP)
A charter bus sits in a ravine after a deadly crash on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Loxley, Ala. The bus carrying Texas high school band members home from Disney World plunged into the ravine before dawn Tuesday. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Rescue crews work at the scene of a deadly charter bus crash on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Loxley, Ala. The bus carrying Texas high school band members home from Disney World plunged into a ravine before dawn Tuesday. (AP Photo/Dan Anderson)
Channelview Independent School District Superintendent Greg Ollis conducts a press conference across the street from Channelview High School Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in Channelview, Texas. Students in the school’s marching band were injured after their charter bus, traveling back from a trip to Disney World, drive off the Interstate 10 near Loxley, Ala. (Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP)
Emergency personnel walk around a bus that crashed into a ravine in Loxley, Ala., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The bus carrying dozens of students and six adults from Channelview crashed early Tuesday on Interstate 10 nearly the Alabama-Florida line. The driver died and about three dozen others went to hospitals. (Gregg Pachkowski/Pensacola News Journal via AP)
Personal items are scattered near the site where a tour bus crashed into a ravine in Loxley, Ala., Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The bus carrying dozens of students and six adults from Channelview crashed early Tuesday on Interstate 10 near the Alabama-Florida line. The driver died and about three dozen others went to hospitals. (Gregg Pachkowski/Pensacola News Journal via AP)