January 21, 2022

Minor injuries reported following Interstate 81 collision

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

A Whitney Point first responder on the scene of accident involving a tractor trailer and a Greyhound bus heading north on Rt. 81 near the Broome County line.

WHITNEY POINT — The driver of a box truck was ticketed Thursday after his vehicle collided with a bus on Interstate 81, causing minor injuries to two bus passengers.

George Koestner, 62, of Jonestown, Pennsylvania, was driving a truck in the northbound passing lane of the interstate towing a passenger vehicle when his truck drifted off the left shoulder of the road, said Lt. Ben Harting of the Broome County Sheriff’s Department.

Koestner overcorrected and crossed the highway, colliding with the driver’s side of a northbound Greyhound bus, which was in the right lane, Harting said.

The accident occurred about 11 a.m. five miles south of Cortland County, a mile north of Interstate 81’s Exit 8 for Whitney Point.

Two of the 34 passengers in the bus were injured in the collision. One was taken to UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City, for treatment, Harting said. Another declined transportation to the hospital. Police did not release the names of the injured passengers.

Koestner was ticketed for moving from lane unsafely, a violation, Harting said. He was driving a commercial truck owned by Quality Drive Away Inc. of Jonestown.

The bus driver, Kevin Carr, 64, of Syracuse could not have avoided the collision and he was not ticketed, Harting said.
A large piece of the window along the middle of the driver’s side of the bus was missing and a large dent was visible on that side of the vehicle, which came to a stop on the shoulder on the east side of the highway.

The bus and truck were driven from the crash site at 11:54 a.m. and crossed over to the rest stop on the southbound side of the interstate, where police and fire officials had gathered.

Harting said he did not know where the bus was coming from or going to at the time of the accident, but a lighted sign reading, “Toronto Ont,” was visible above the front windshield.

The vehicles continued on their way after police finished their work.

Assisting at the scene of the accident were the Whitney Point Fire Department, Broome Volunteer Ambulance, Marathon Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps., state police and the state Department of Transportation.