BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police on Wednesday identified the driver of a school bus that crashed into a commuter bus, killing both drivers and four mass transit riders.
He was Glenn R. Chappell, 67, of Baltimore, police spokesman T.J. Smith said in a statement.
Smith said Chappell was several blocks from his first stop early Tuesday morning when his bus, for unknown reasons, hit a cemetery wall, a car and a roadside pillar before smashing into the side of an oncoming Maryland Transit Administration bus in southwest Baltimore. Five people aboard the MTA bus died, including driver Ebonee Baker, 33.
The school bus was contracted from Baltimore-based AA Affordable Transportation and served 18 elementary students, according to the city's public school system.
One of the company's drivers, Chernell Burrows, said Tuesday that Chappell was kind and dependable.
Federal records show the company had no violations or other crashes reported during the two years ending this September. In 2012, an AA Affordable school bus was involved in a crash that injured at least 13 people, including students, when it collided with a minivan, the Sun reported.
The company's five-year contract with the school district ends in June 2018, according to online public records.
Investigators hope Chappell's autopsy will reveal whether he suffered a medical emergency, which Smith called a working theory, since there were no skid marks indicating hard braking.
The only school bus passenger, an aide, survived with minor injuries, and police planned to interview her, Smith said.
He said investigators recovered recording equipment from one of the buses that Smith believes contains video and possibly crash data.
"We have to see the viability of it after this catastrophic accident," Smith said Tuesday.
Police also identified three of the four deceased MTA bus passengers: Cherry Denise Yarborough, 51; Terance Lee Casey, 52; and Gerald Holloway, 51, all of Baltimore. Smith said police haven't yet reached relatives of the other deceased passenger, a 46-year-old woman.
He said three of the 10 people injured remain hospitalized at the University of Maryland Medical Center, in fair, serious and critical condition.
Baker's sister Deonne Perry said in a telephone interview that Baker, a married mother of four, worked an overnight shift. She said she last spoke with her sister by phone around 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, about three hours before the crash.
"She loved her husband, her kids, and everyone else's kids," Perry said.
Baker was friendly, funny and "always wanted to shine," said the Rev. Donald Wright of the Greater Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, where she was a member.
When Minnie Yarborough didn't hear from her daughter, Cherry, on Tuesday morning "like a mother knows," she could tell something was wrong. She saw reports of a bus wreck along her daughter's daily route to work and began calling hospitals. Later, she learned that her 51-year-old daughter, who loved sports, movies and puzzles was among the passengers killed.
"She was a loving daughter," Minnie Yarborough said by telephone. "She was kind, considerate and she truly loved her job."
Yarborough had worked for the Behavioral Health Administration for nearly 30 years, said Christopher Garrett, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesman. Yarborough was riding the bus to her office at Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, Garrett said.
Steve Gondol, executive director for Live Baltimore, which promotes city living, says Yarborough had been a fixture at its Buying in Baltimore events since 2008, greeting people at the registration table. Gondol says Yarborough "saw life as an education." He says she enjoyed living in the city and wanted to make sure others benefited too.
The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation. Lead investigator Jennifer Morrison said her team will likely remain in Baltimore through the week, gathering facts to determine the cause of the crash and make safety recommendations.
The public transit riders were on the No. 10 route from Dundalk, a largely blue-collar community southeast of Baltimore, to Catonsville, a western suburb.
"They're on their way to make a living, they're on their way to the job, and they're on their way to support their families," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Tuesday.
Shawn Braxton said he was driving to work when the bus hit his car.
"I'm just mentally trying to deal with, you know, surviving the accident while other people died," he told The Associated Press.
Bus fatalities are rare, accounting for less than 1 percent of all highway fatalities in 2013, according to a chart on the NTSB website.
Contributors include Associated Press journalists Pat Semansky in Baltimore; Sarah Brumfield in Washington; Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; and David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Maryland.