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Investigators: Confusing Signs Contributed to Atlanta Bus Crash

July 08, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- National Transportation Safety Board investigators have concluded that confusing highway signs contributed to last year's Atlanta bus collision that killed five Bluffton University baseball players. The accident, which occurred March 2, 2007, also killed the bus driver and his wife and injured 28 of the baseball team members.

The safety board noted that poor signage marking an I-75 High-Occupancy Vehicle left exit lane has previously been linked to collisions, including two fatal accidents that occurred before the Bluffton accident. Drivers unfamiliar with the area could easily make the error of assuming they were in a through lane, NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said. He noted that all nine accidents that have occurred at the site since 1997 have involved out-of-state or nonlocal drivers, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Investigators concluded that the bus driver, 65-year-old Jerome Niemeyer, thought he was entering a carpool lane when he drove onto an elevated exit ramp. He subsequently crashed the bus into a barrier and the bus hurtled off an overpass onto the interstate below.

According to the Associated Press, the investigators also concluded that the bus lacked adequate passenger safety features.

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