UPDATE: Victim identified in deadly crash involving bus
One person is dead and 15 others were hurt after a pickup truck collided with a Royal Excursion charter bus in eastern LaPorte County Wednesday afternoon.
It happened around 3 p.m. (CST) on U.S. 20 at 450 East, and it appears weather was a factor.
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The coach bus was returning from the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Mich., carrying around 50 patrons. All were adults.
Police say the driver of the pickup, 36-year-old John Kallok of Griffith, Ind., lost control of his truck, slid into oncoming traffic and hit the bus.
The LaPorte Couny Coroner says Kallok was ejected from his truck, despite being restrained by a seat belt.
He died at the scene.
Fifteen adults on the bus were also hurt, all with non-life threatening injuries. The bus driver was among the injured.
The bus ended in a field, and the driver is being credited for keeping it upright.
"This bus driver's got to be commendedfor what he did," said La Porte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer. "After impact with the pickup truck, he went through a shallow ditch between two fairly large trees and then I bet close to 500 feet into the field before he got it stopped, but he kept it upright. That's the amazing part. If that thing would have went on its side, we would have had a lot more casualties. He's got to be commended for keeping it under control like that."
In a release Thursday, Royal Excursion said they are cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities. The motorcoach involved in the crash is a new, 2013 model -- equipped with seat beats, according to the release.
In the release, Royal Excursion also gave their condolences to the family of the man killed in the accident.
"Royal Excursion offers our deepest condolences of the family and friends of the driver of the pick-up truck and we pray for comfort and strength during this sorrowful and difficult time."
"We extend compassion to the passengers who suffered injuries and to all passengers on-board."
The business says they are working to make sure those injured received immediate medical attention and were provided alternative transportation home.
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Traffic on U.S. 20 was backed up just west of SR 2, but the highway has since reopened.