Newburgh residents understand the high-speed dangers of driving on highways. But even the most cautious, experienced driver has difficulty contending safely with other drivers who are inattentive.

According to the New York State Police, driver inattention is partly to blame for the horrific accident involving a tour bus and an 18-wheeler that left the trucker dead and 30 others injured about 250 miles northwest of Newburgh.

The New York State Thruway crash was also caused in part by mechanical problems, according to the state police report.

The July 22 collision left the 59-year-old truck driver dead, as well as 30 of the 53 people on the bus injured. Two people on the bus were critically injured.

The primary cause of the crash was the trucker’s inattention, investigators concluded.

“Either he fell asleep, or he was inattentive in some way. Maybe he spilled coffee on himself, or was reaching around in his sleeper berth to get something and he wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see or realize the bus was in the roadway up ahead of him,” a state police investigator said. 

He added that they believe it’s most likely that the Michigan trucker fell asleep behind the wheel.

An accident witness said the trucker had ample room with which to avoid the bus.

“The bus was clearly visible,” said the investigator.

The bus had pulled over with mechanical problems and was having trouble getting back up to speed as its driver attempted to get back on the highway. The bus driver was steering the vehicle back to the shoulder when it was struck from behind by the truck carrying a 14,000-pound load.

The report we read didn’t indicate whether any injury victims are seeking green bay workers compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages from either the trucking company or the bus company.