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September 2, 2014

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1 dead after shuttle bus crash on I-95; man held

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Virginia State Police / AP

Police investigate the scene of a bus accident on Interstate 95 early Sunday, March 23, 2014, in Fairfax County, Va. The shuttle bus struck a guardrail and overturned before dawn Sunday just south of the nation’s capital, leaving at least one person dead and sending 16 others to the hospital, Virginia State Police said.

Updated Sunday, March 23, 2014 | 7:31 p.m.

A shuttle bus transporting a group back from a birthday party collided with a car and overturned before dawn Sunday along a highway south of the nation's capital, leaving one person dead and sending 16 others to the hospital, Virginia State Police said.

The bus was headed south on Interstate 95 when witnesses reported seeing a speeding white sedan swerve into the bus's lane. Virginia State Police initially said the bus swerved to avoid the car and then overturned, but later said the two vehicles collided, causing the bus driver to lose control, drive off the road and overturn.

The driver of the white sedan did not stop but was arrested later Sunday and charged with one felony count of hit-and-run, the Virginia State Police said. State Police identified him as 31-year-old Raphael Manuel Barrientos of Dumfries, Va. A woman who answered at a telephone listing for his home declined to comment.

The crash occurred on the interstate in northern Virginia's Fairfax County and police were called at 3:28 a.m. Sunday, State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Geller said the man who died was one of two people flown to a northern Virginia hospital. He was identified as 24-year-old David Alberto Sanchez of Woodbridge, Va.

Sanchez's father, Federico Hernandez, told The Associated Press that his son, who worked in the office of an auto body shop in Virginia, was attending a birthday party for a co-worker. He said he believed his son had left around 11 p.m. Saturday for a trip into Washington to celebrate. Hernandez said his son was also studying computers at a community college.

State Police confirmed the bus had been to Washington for a birthday party and was returning to Prince William County, where all the passengers were from.

The State Police said nine people were ejected from the bus during the accident. One person was being treated for life-threatening injuries Sunday. Two others, the driver and a passenger, were being treated for serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. The remaining 13 passengers suffered minor injuries.

State Police identified the crashed vehicle as a shuttle bus operated by America Transportation. An answering service dispatcher for that company said America Transportation had no information to release. A person who replied to an email sent to the company's address referred questions to the Virginia State Police.

News photographs taken at the site early Sunday showed police had erected orange safety cones at the site and used floodlights to illuminate the overturned bus. It was on its right side in a grassy area, its rear pointed away from a crumpled guardrail. Crews were visible using a tall crane trying to right the bus. Its windshield was shattered and much of its right side crumpled from the right front bumper backward.

Associated Press reporter Bill Cormier contributed to this report from Atlanta.

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