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SUV in wrong lane hits bus, 1 dead

MONTGOMERY (AP) — A sport utility vehicle traveling the wrong way on an interstate highway collided head-on with a Greyhound bus early Friday, killing the SUV's driver and sending three dozen people to a hospital with at least minor injuries, police said.

Capt. Huey Thornton said the SUV driver, identified as Joseph Rudder, 45, of Hope Hull, was alone in the vehicle and died at the hospital about an hour after the collision.

Thornton said it occurred shortly after police were dispatched at 2:16 a.m. to pursue a vehicle going the wrong way on Interstate 65 near the Hope Hull exit.

He said it was not immediately known why Rudder was traveling northbound in the southbound lane of the interstate.

Minor injuries

The bus driver and all 52 passengers were taken to a hospital, where 36 requested treatment for "non-life-threatening injuries ranging from minor bumps and bruises to minor lacerations of the lips, as well as neck and back pains," Thornton said.

Baptist Medical Center South spokeswoman Melody Ragland said all but one were discharged after treatment.

The driver of the bus, Cedric Davis, 36, of Stone Mountain, Ga., said the bus had just departed Montgomery and was on the way to Mobile when the collision occurred. Thornton said Davis was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment of leg injuries.

Mayor Bobby Bright, who went to the scene, said none of the injuries appeared critical.

"They were just alarmed and some of them were in a state of shock and did not know at that point in time the extent of their own injuries," Bright said. "The most important thing is we got the seriously injured passengers to the hospital immediately."

The accident marked the second time in four months that a Greyhound bus has collided head-on with a vehicle going the wrong way on an interstate highway in Montgomery during early morning hours. On March 31, a car headed the wrong way on Interstate 85 collided with a Greyhound about 3 a.m., killing the car's driver and sending 20 people to the hospital with injuries, none critical.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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