Bus company co-owner killed in wreck; 43 passengers, mostly elde - CBS46 News

Bus company co-owner killed in wreck; 43 passengers, mostly elderly, injured

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Richard Rees (Source: Greatime Getaway website) Richard Rees (Source: Greatime Getaway website)
Source: WGCL Source: WGCL
ELLIJAY, GA (CBS46) -

One person died and 43 mostly elderly passengers were injured after a charter passenger bus and a tractor-trailer collided outside Ellijay, GA.

SR-515 was shut down at Whitestone Rd. in response to the crash Thursday afternoon in Pickens County, about 60 miles north of Atlanta. The driver of the bus, 66 year-old Richard Rees from Marietta, was killed in the crash.

The tractor-trailer was being driven by 56 year-old Charles Howard of Concord, NC.

The Gilmer County Fire Chief said four people on the bus were not injured.

As she left Piedmont Mountainside Hospital, a passenger told CBS46 the group was headed to Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and managed by Caesars.

Gilmer County's Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett said the truck was crossing SR-515 at Whitestone Rd. and the bus, traveling north, hit the back of the trailer.

The back end of the tractor-trailer was blocking lanes as it tried to make a left turn onto SR 515 near Ellijay and the bus slammed into it as it came around the bend.

Pritchett said "The curve that comes up to that intersection has a limited sight distance and this is somewhere that we do see accidents that can be pretty challenging and pretty awful."

Company hasn't had recent crashes

The bus company involved in the accident, Greatime Getaways, operates out of Marietta, GA. They normally bus passengers to casinos across the southeast.

According to records obtained by CBS46 News, the family-owned company hasn't been involved in any crashes in the past two years. In fact, the only mark on their record was a maintenance issue for the company's bus.

Officials have not said if anyone will be charged.

Map where crash took place

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