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Police seek answers in fatal Butler County bus-train crash

| Monday, April 29, 2013, 4:39 p.m.

At least two people remained hospitalized on Monday with injuries from a fatal crash between a bus and freight train in Butler County, authorities said.

“We still have a lot of questions,” said Evans City police Chief Joseph McCombs, whose department is investigating the crash.

An Allegheny Valley Railroad train traveling about 25 mph broadsided a 12-seat bus carrying elderly and disabled passengers on Friday morning at a crossing along Maple Avenue in Evans City.

Bus passenger Claudette Miller, 91, of Callery, Butler County, died in the wreck. Ten other people were taken to area hospitals.

Passenger John Burkett, no age or address available, remained in serious condition at Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side, a spokeswoman said. An unidentified male passenger remained hospitalized at Oakland's UPMC Presbyterian, but his condition was unavailable, a spokesman said.

Details of the accident remain unclear. The train's crew said the bus driver, Frank Schaffner, 59, paused on the tracks as the train approached. Alliance for Nonprofit Resources Executive Director Michael Robb said investigators told him the bus stopped at the tracks and then tried to go across them and that heavy fog played a role. The nonprofit operates the bus service.

McCombs said an investigation continues. Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Mike England said the agency is investigating.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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