Mississippi Bus Crash Leaves 17 Injured, Three Critical

NEW ALBANY, Miss. (AP) -- A tour bus crash in north Mississippi left 17 people injured, including three in critical condition.

The victims, all in their 60s and 70s, were returning from a trip to casinos in Tunica to their homes in Muscle Shoals, Ala., Sunday morning when the Anchor Tours bus crashed into three horses standing in the road in Benton County.

The bus was traveling east on U.S. 72 about two miles east of the Mississippi 5 intersection.

Sgt. Horace Kitchens of the Mississippi Highway Patrol in New Albany said the bus hit the horses, and one of the horses was dragged under the vehicle, tearing out the air lines and disabling the brakes.

The bus stayed on its wheels until it finally crashed into a ravine.

Kitchens said he credits the bus driver, Joseph Holley, 55, of Lexington, Ala., for saving lives. ``We don't know how he kept it upright,'' Kitchens said. ``He did a heck of a job.''

All three horses were killed.

Only two of the passengers escaped with minor injuries. Others suffered head injuries and broken bones. The names of the victims were not released.

Five were taken from the crash scene by helicopter to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., and others by ambulance to area hospitals. Three of the passengers remain in critical condition at The Med Sunday afternoon, and two others were in serious condition.