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1 dead, 20 hurt in head-on collision

By Bob Johnson
Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY — Some passengers watched in horror early Saturday as a car going the wrong way on an interstate headed straight toward them and crashed into the front of their Greyhound bus, despite desperate efforts by the bus driver to avoid the car.

“When the bus would turn right, the car would turn right. When the bus would turn left, the car would turn left,” said construction worker Clint Cannon of Asheville, N.C.

Despite the bus driver’s efforts, the car crashed almost head-on into the bus, killing the young driver of the car and injuring 20 people on the bus.

Cannon said he was awake when the crash occurred as he was returning from a job in New Orleans. He said panic erupted in the bus after the car crashed into the bus door, blocking passengers from getting out through it. The car was smoking, he said, and there was fear it might explode into flames, setting the bus afire.

“People were screaming and handing babies out the windows,” he said. “It was a frenzy. There were people trying to push each other out of the windows, They thought the bus was going to explode.”

The bus was headed toward Columbus, Ga., and then to Atlanta.

The car was headed the wrong way on Interstate 85 at the time of the 3:05 a.m. crash, said police Lt. Mark Drinkard. The driver of the car was identified as Heather Marie Thom-as, 23, of Montgomery, he said.

Maj. David Warren, weekend duty chief for Montgomery Police, said officers were working to determine why the woman was on the wrong side of the interstate.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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