UPDATE: Driver in deadly Pennsylvania charter bus crash ‘fell asleep at the wheel’

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The driver of the Big Red Bullet bus that crashed in Pennsylvania Sunday night, killing a recent Cornell graduate, told investigators that he “fell asleep at the wheel.” 

The crash killed Rebecca Blanco and injured over a dozen others.

The private charter bus went off the highway and was leaning on its side in a wooded area.

Pennsylvania state Trooper Robert M. Urban says there were no signs of vehicle failure.

He said the driver was cooperating with police and that police have not filed any charges in connection with the fatal crash, although the investigation is ongoing.

Blanco, who graduated Cornell in 2017, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

A forensic autopsy conducted by the Lackawanna County Coroner concluded Blanco died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries. The manner of death is pending the results of the PSP and Lackawanna County District Attorney investigation.

CNN reports that the bus was carrying a dozen former and current Cornell students who were headed to New York City. 

Joel Malina, vice president for University Relations, issued the following statement: 

Cornell University has learned that one of our alumni, Rebecca Blanco, MBA ‘17, lost her life in the tragic Sunday night bus accident in Northern Pennsylvania. We extend our deepest sympathies to Rebecca’s family and friends.

Cornell University Police are in contact with area emergency responders, who report that other passengers on the private bus line also sustained injuries in the crash. We will be monitoring the situation closely as our thoughts and prayers remain with all of those involved.

Support services are available to all members of the Cornell community. Students may consult with counselors from Cornell Health’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) by calling 607-255-5155. Students may speak with a peer counselor by calling the Empathy, Assistance and Referral Service (EARS) at 607-255-3277.
Employees may call the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) at 607-255-2673. An Ithaca-based Crisisline is available at 607-272-1616. For additional resources, visit caringcommunity.cornell.edu.

Several others were taken to area hospitals for treatment. 

Most were released from the hospital. One person is in critical condition. 

The company operating the bus, Big Red Bullet, is based out of Ithaca.

Law enforcement continue to investigate.

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