1 killed, 8 injured in bus rollover on I-10 near Quartzsite

Posted at 5:16 AM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-03 22:03:28-04

A bus driver was killed and eight passengers injured Monday when a tire failed and the driver lost control of the bus carrying support staff from an Illinois drum corps.

The bus drove over the median before tumbling onto its left side shortly after 4 a.m. Monday on Interstate 10 about 10 miles from the Arizona-California border, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. Initial reports show a bad tire may have caused the crash. 

The driver, 55-year-old Donna M. Howard from Kansas City, Missouri, died after being partially ejected from the vehicle, according to Mehr, who said she wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the rollover.

The bus was being used by the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps from Rockford, Illinois, Mehr said.  The Phantom Regiment said in a statement that the bus was shuttling the group's support staff, not performers, between shows in California and Arizona.

Eight of the 13 passengers were taken to hospitals in Arizona and California, including two who were airlifted to a Phoenix hospital.

All eight were treated and released from hospitals by Monday evening, Mehr said.

Phantom Regiment released the following statement after the incident:

"A bus carrying staff and volunteers for the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps was involved in a rollover incident early Monday morning just east of the Arizona-California border on I-10.

The driver of the bus died at the scene. Eight of the 13 passengers were transported to hospitals. All are expected to be released today. The passengers included members of the cooking, souvenir and tour management teams.

None of the performing members were involved.

Police are investigating the cause of the rollover, which shut down the highway for more than an hour.

The corps was on its way from Riverside, Calif., where it performed Sunday night, to its next show tonight in Mesa, Ariz. Several corps have offered their assistance to the Phantom Regiment organization. The Academy, a corps based in the Phoenix area, has provided volunteers and support. We have also received offers of assistance from corps on the same tour as well as others across the country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our driver’s family and all those affected."

Phantom Regiment decided Monday to cancel their appearance at the Mesa show. The Academy, from Tempe, will have an encore performance at the show to fill in. The show will be held at Mesa Community College and is set to start at 7:30 p.m. A moment of silence will be held for the bus driver, and donations will be taken.

Stay with ABC15 and for more updates on this developing story.