Tour bus crashes on I-87, driver ejected

LAKE GEORGE - The driver of a chartered bus from Canada was seriously injured Nov. 13 after he apparently fell asleep and drifted off southbound I-87 Northway then crashed through median guardrails and was thrown from the vehicle, police said.

None of the 30 college students who were on board had serious injuries, and the seven of them who had minor complaints declined treatment.

The crash happened about 8:15 a.m. between Exits 22 and 23 just south of the "Twin Bridges" overpass. Police determined that the bus drifted off the right side of the road, struck the guardrail, then veered across the southbound lanes and punched through two more guardrails in the median. The bus came to rest in the median with part of the bus in the left lane of the northbound roadway.

The driver, Christian Babin, age 56, of Warwick, Quebec, who was not wearing his seat belt, was ejected in the crash. He landed on the ground of the median, and suffered substantial injuries. An Albany Medical Center spokesperson said Sunday that Babin was in critical condition.

The passengers were Vanier College students who had been traveling to New York City for the day. Babin was initially treated at Glens Falls Hospital but later airlifted to Albany Medical Center.

Babin will be receiving tickets for various vehicle and traffic charges including one for not wearing his seat belt and Reckless Driving, police said.

Trooper Maureen Tuffey said that the outcome could have been a major disaster if it had occurred a split-second sooner - 30 feet north of the crash site were the Twin Bridges, dozens of feet above Rte 9 below and a steep drop-off on either side.

"When driving a large and heavy commercial vehicle with numerous passengers, the responsibility is immense and there is no place for fatigue," Tuffey said.

The Lake George Fire Dept. members assisted state Troopers and Department of Transportation investigators at the scene.

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