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Tour bus driver suffered heart attack

The driver of a tour bus that crashed along Interstate-270 last week suffered a heart attack just before the wreck, Maryland state police said Monday.

The state medical examiner's office has ruled the cause of death a heart attack, said Greg Shipley, a spokesman with the state police.

That is consistent with what passengers told investigators -- that the driver, Joseph Clabaugh, 66, was seen sweating just before the crash, Shipley said. The bus rolled down a 45-foot embankment. The 11 passengers on the bus -- which was carrying tourists back to Pennsylvania -- survived.

One passenger asked the driver if he was okay just before the crash, Shipley said.

Sally Currie, 47, a passenger on the bus, said in an interview that it appeared the driver had suffered some kind of medical incident.

"We started veering to the left. And I stood up and tapped him on the shoulder and I said, 'Hey sir, is everything okay?' And with that he slumped over. I can't tell you was it a stroke, was it a seizure, was it a heart attack. He just was not himself."

Currie said she tried to grab the steering wheel, but couldn't gain control of the bus as it rolled down an embankment.

-- Dan Morse

By Dan Morse  | October 4, 2010; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Dan Morse, Montgomery  
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wow...could you imagine standing up and tapping the driver on the shoulder seconds before and then realizing the whole bus was going over this drop-off? Holy Cow! We all would like to think we would spring into action and save the day but c'mon...that's movie stunt like and most of us would probably freeze in disbelief....glad everyone survived the crash...yikes!

Posted by: michaelaudet | October 4, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Why is this story filed under crime scene?

Posted by: dcborn61 | October 4, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

'Cause the source of the story is the Md. State Police.

Posted by: Dan4 | October 4, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

The blog should probably be named "Police Blotter", huh?

Posted by: Dan4 | October 4, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

When the story first made the local PA newspapers, someone commented that Mr Clabaugh, the driver, had three prior heart attacks. True, who knows? But he was apparently a very well-liked individual and skilled bus driver.

Posted by: dongrahamwp | October 4, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"Why is this story filed under crime scene?"

Because the WaPo has become a newspaper which hires only idiots and lazy morons.

Posted by: therev1 | October 4, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I hope everyone who jumped to all sorts of conclusions before the facts were known are satisfied (and chagrined), but probably not.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | October 4, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know how he passed his DOT physical as I find it hard to believe that he was in good enough shape to have passed.

Posted by: Thundershock | October 4, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Buses should have co-drivers and two sets of controls like airplanes.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | October 4, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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