Bus overturns in Richmond

A bus carrying more than 50 college students overturned on an exit ramp off of the Powhite Parkway onto the Chippenham Parkway on Sunday in Richmond.

A bus carrying dozens of college students, including students from Virginia Tech and Radford University, overturned in North Chesterfield County Sunday night sending many of them to Richmond-area hospitals.

Virginia State Police said the crash happened around 7:15 p.m. on the Powhite Parkway.

The bus was headed south on the parkway and as it took the ramp to Chippenham Parkway the driver lost control at the curve of the ramp and the bus overturned on its side, according to a news release from Virginia State Police.

The charter bus was operated by Roanoke-based Abbott Bus Lines and had around 50 passengers and a driver on board when the crash happened. The release said 34 of the passengers and the driver were taken to six Richmond area hospitals for treatment of minor injuries. One passenger is being treated for serious injuries, according to the release.

The passengers were students from Virginia Tech, Radford University and the University of Virginia, authorities said. The bus picked up the students at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and was headed for University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The bus driver, Thomas B. Chidester, 58, of Salem, was charged with reckless driving.

Virginia Tech freshman Emily Beneke, of Williamsburg, was a passenger on the bus.

"It seemed like we were going way too fast," entering the southbound ramp from Powhite Parkway onto southbound Chippenham, she said.

When the bus overturned, Beneke, who was sitting the back, fell between two seats on top of another passenger, she said. She walked away from the scene with her mother who came to pick her up.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch contributed to this story.

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