WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Two men and one woman have died following a crash that involved a passenger bus carrying more than 20 people and a tractor trailer on Interstate 64 in Virginia, state police said in a news release on Friday.
The crash occurred just after 1:30 a.m. near Williamsburg, and prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to send 10 investigators to conduct a safety investigation in cooperation with state police, the agency tweeted late Friday afternoon.
Both vehicles were traveling in eastbound lanes toward Norfolk when the “passenger bus merged into the tractor trailer’s path” and the “vehicles collided,” state police said.
Three of the 23 bus passengers died at the scene, state police said. The driver and the remaining passengers were taken to local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries.
The bus passengers were not wearing seatbelts, state police said. The man driving the tractor trailer was also taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
State police said that they and a local medical examiner's office are working to confirm the identities of the people who died and to notify their families.
State police also said that “charges are pending” in consultation with the local prosecutor's office in York County.
The participation of the NTSB is rare for an agency that's known for investigating the nation's airplane and helicopter crashes. But the agency will occasionally look into crashes that are not aviation-related.
Eric Weiss, an NTSB spokesman, said in an email that the agency's Office of Highway Safety investigates crashes that have significant safety implications nationwide, involve the loss of numerous lives, or generate high interest because of emerging technologies or because of their circumstances.
Last year, the office launched “go-teams” to eight major crashes across the U.S., Weiss said.
“The makeup of this particular go-team includes an investigator-in-charge, project manager and a multidisciplinary team with experts in highway factors, motor carrier factors, survival factors, vehicle factors and accident reconstruction,” Weiss said. “There are also experts from our family assistance division.”
This story has been corrected to state that there were was one driver and 23 passengers aboard the bus. A previous version of this story stated that there were 22 passengers.