Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass Ski & Board Club bus overturns on I-91

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

A bus transporting UMass students on a ski trip this weekend overturned on I-91 in Putney, Vt., leaving six students in critical condition and 40 injured, according to reports from the Brattleboro Reformer.

However, according to Martin Greenberg, a student injured in the accident, eight students were released from Brattleboro Memorial Hospital having been treated for partial injuries. Four of these students are currently traveling on a UMass travel bus back to campus, while the other four secured rides earlier in the evening. Greenberg said that four students were taken into the emergency room for critical injuries.

According to The Reformer, the bus was one of three heading to Quebec City, Canada, for a weekend ski trip and, according to UMass Media Relations, the students on board were members of the UMass Ski & Board Club.

Students on one of the other buses are reporting hearing the media is exaggerating the conditions of students reported to have been injured on the trip.

“All we know is that the accident was caused by a heart attack the bus driver had,” said Chris Martin, UMass student and Ski ‘N Board club members on one of the other two buses stopped in Northern Vt. “We’ve just been hearing that all UMass students are alright, and the news is exaggerating [the injuries] but we don’t know for sure.”

“We heard the students that are being treated are being treated for minor concussions,” continued Martin. “And that no one was seriously injured and all should be continuing on the trip, but nothing is official and we’re still trying to figure out what’s happening.”

Martin also said the RSO’s advisors were not available for comment as they were “currently figuring things out and getting the group coordinated.”

“Students here are just trying to call their families and tell them that they’re OK,” said Martin.

Students in Amherst preparing for finals are stunned by the news, and many are trying to contact those on the trip.

“I’ve been searching on Google and looking at my friends on Facebook that I know ski and snowboard to see if they have any information on who is OK on the trip,” said resident assistant and psychology major Alexandra Booth. “I’m very worried about the students on board. I just hope that everyone is getting the medical attention they need.”

“I”m in shock. Those are the kinds of things you see on the news and you never think it’s going to hit close to home. It’s sad to hear that something like that happened to the Unviersity I attend,” said senior economics major Chris Venne. “I just hope everyone is alright.”

“It is really sad that a simple school trip could go bad so quickly,” said communication major Jessica Dautruche. “I am concerned about the students, but I can’t imagine how worried their families must be.

The Reformer is also reporting that over two dozen ambulances were dispatched to the scene from surrounding towns and New Hampshire and are transporting students to hospitals in Brattleboro, Vt., Keene NH and Springfield, Vt.

The white tour bus was travelling northbound when it rolled over and slid down an embankment, The Reformer reported, with emergency crews treating some students at the scene as traffic is diverted.

Unconfirmed reports state that the cause of the rollover may have been due to the driver suffering a heart attack. The Tour World bus company in Danville, Penn. cannot confirm the state of the driver or whether a heart attack led to the crash.

Stay with as more details on this developing story emerge.

-Collegian News Staff

Most recently updated Friday, Nov. 3 at 9:30 p.m.

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  • J

    Johnny JayDec 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm


    First of all, you have no basis to say that the University should have known that the driver had hypertension because for all you know, it could have been been a first-time symptom. Second of all, please don’t try to argue a legal argument because you apparently don’t know what your talking about.

    It is not the responsibility of the University to check the blood pressure of every worker employed by every contract company of the University. The University works in “good faith” with the companies. Which means the need to believe the other companies are working in the best interest of their own employees.

    Secondly, let me explain to you that “acting in Loco Parentis” doesn’t really apply to Universities ever since 1961 Dixon v. Alabama, as the University isn’t forcing students to join UMSBC and thus go on the trips. So you are about 50 years behind the mark.

    Third, if this was supposedly the fault of the University, why were there non-UMass students on the buses?

    Fourth, with words like “speculating” and “hinting” you are not making much of a strong argument.

    Fifth, you really weakened what little basis you had, by comparing the Ski and Board CLub, which has well over 300 members, to the Minuteman paper, which had about 20, at the peak. So this is you answer to why more money was provided to UMSBC. Because more people care about it.

    Before you respond, I will kindly ask you to stay in the lines of the UMSBC. I would like to keep bringing up your grudge against the University, I don’t know if it is worth my time.

  • E

    Ed CuttingDec 5, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Martin Luther put his beliefs on the bulletin board of his day — the church door — and like him, I stand here because I can do nothing else….

    1: As to drivers with hypertension, Google “49 CFR 395.45(b)(6)” That is part of the US Dept of Transportation’s regulations (CFR is Code of Federal Regulations) relative to the medical qualifications of commercial driver’s. Yes, the bus company (and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) was responsible for ensuring that the driver did not have hypertension.

    2: The “CSD” is the Center for Student Development, formerly known as the “Campus Activities Office”, formerly known as the “Student Activities Office.” The CSD is responsible for overseeing (or “babysitting”) all Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), of which the Ski & Board Club is one.

    3: Every thing a RSO does must be approved by it’s CSD adviser, every dollar it spends must go through the CSD system and technically be spent by the CSD adviser. Every vendor it does business with must have a contract with the university and in procuring services (e.g. printing services) it must use the existing university contract — and change annually when a new bidder gets the contract, even if it isn’t in the RSO’s best interest to do so.

    For example, the now-defunct Minuteman Newspaper was required to use as its printer whomever UM had the contract with, and we once had to go from Turley (the Collegian’s printer) to someone else because the new company had won the contract — and we couldn’t go to press for a semester because our computers couldn’t send the copy in the format they needed.

    Now UMass has a lot of sports teams and field trips going places, UMass has got to have a contract with someone for charter bus services, and I don’t think it is with this bus company. So, umm…

    4: The Ski & Board Club has a long history of doing things that, well, at least bend the CSD rules. I am not speaking to the current membership/leadership because I have no idea who they are, but I joined a few years back and then quickly distanced myself from it because while I like to ski (not saying I am very good at it), I saw things that concerned me. Things I did not want to be associated with…

    I am speculating and hinting at things here — things unrelated to the crash and which may well be totally unrelated to the crash, but which ought to raise the eyebrows of the folk in Shrewsbury & Boston. And while you are at it guys, instead of just asking if all the dollars paid by those going on this trip went through the CSD like they were supposed to, do a full audit of the CSD and look at (a) how funds were diverted into “Justice for Jason” via the purchase of T shirts used for the fundraisers and (b) how Student Bridges purchased the textbooks of a certain former graduate student. (Oh, you will find a LOT more, I just know that these two are there.)

    5: Why was the Minuteman Newspaper held to a higher standard than the Ski & Board Club? Could this be because UMass didn’t like what the Minuteman was printing? Could it be that they truly feared what would come out about Student Bridges in the third edition? (YES, we Can!)

    6: This is the most important thing: If UMass is going to adopt “In Loco Parentis” — if they are going to exercise the power of parents over us, then they assume the responsibility of parents over minor children. Hence the university becomes responsible for this, not the bus company, not the tour vendor, not the S&B club, but Jean Kim.

    Much as the parent of a 3-year-old is responsible for when a 3-year-old is injured, by declaring its right to treat us as 3-year-olds, Student Affairs has assumed the responsibility of protecting us from ourselves. Under “In Loco Parentis” students are considered to be minor children, not old enough to be responsible for our own actions, and thus the university is responsible for protecting us from our own stupidity.

    UMass is now going to be looking at what I have been warning them about for at least the past decade — liability for nonfeasance (negligence) in their exercise of the In Loco Parentis obligation that they have assumed. It would be one thing if students were considered adults and whatever we did off campus was considered between ourselves and whomever we did it with — but as UM acquired the authority to regulate what we do off campus, it assumed both the duty to do so and the larger duty to properly supervise us.

    Which means that the bus crash *IS* the fault of the university, much like it would be had this been a high school trip, the “in loco” parent having absolute liability to the actual parent regardless of fault. Under “In Loco Parentis” we (students) can’t assume risk because we aren’t mature enough to do so — if we are struck by lighting walking across campus, it is the university’s fault just like it would be with a 3-year-old because the university has assumed the responsibility for making our own decisions for us.

    An “Act of God” that happens to an adult is without liability, an “Act of God” that happens to a minor child is the fault of the parent because the child lacked the maturity to understand the risk involved. As UMass has assumed the power of parents over us, it likewise has assumed the duty of parents, and now the liability thereof…

  • T

    Thank EdDec 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Well Ed, please don’t ever work in our English Department, or as a detective. I am not sure what the CSD is, but if it is what results show when you google them I can’t believe you’d blame club advisers on a heart attack. Not even insurance companies can plan for those, and that is an unfair attack.

  • R

    RmoherDec 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    We passed this accident on the way to white river junction Vermont..just to let everyone know it was on the southbound side of 91…not the northbound

  • M

    MDec 4, 2010 at 10:25 am

    This story is factually incorrect and should be updated.

  • J

    Johnny JayDec 4, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Ed, you always find a way to turn any article into a personal attack upon the University. Students were involved in an accident, the driver apparently had a heart attack. Unless you expect the bus company to personally screen every driver for hypertension before sending them out, there was no way to foresee this from happening. This was no person’s, or organization’s fault, it was an tragedy so there is no one to blame!

  • E

    Ed CuttingDec 4, 2010 at 1:18 am

    This is the incompetence of CSD and I will say it right here and right now. CSD should have anticipated something like this happening — the wind is blowing, a trailer truck flipped over on the I-91/Rt 5 ramp in West Springfield at about 4:30 today — stuff happens.

    CSD should have done that which was necessary (ED would have) to have a list of the kids whom we know NOT to be hurt, and would be calling their parents and asking their parents to call “everyone else” and to spread the word that this particular student wasn’t hurt.

    And if ACT has any value at all, it means that the people on it get to come back to campus at night and make phone calls along the lines of “I am sorry sir, all I can really tell you is that (a) I have a Vermont State Trooper saying your daughter is OK, (b) that she told someone that her first grade teacher was Mrs. McHugh — we have no way of knowing if this is true or not but you do and if it is accurate that means that your daughter was able to tell it to someone. And third, I don’t think you gave this number to the university — the fact that I am calling you on it means that your daughter was able to give it to someone — we don’t know whom she told it to, but the fact we have it means she was able to tell it to someone — that she is alive and conscious.”

    This is what Ed would both have done and be prepared to do — Ed, of course, doesn’t get hired by CSD because he would be prepared enough to deal with something like this….