Bus collision
Max Schulte  /  Democrat and Chronicle
Fire crews and state police look over the scene of the crash on Saturday night.
updated 1/30/2005 6:11:00 PM ET 2005-01-30T23:11:00

Investigators on Sunday sought to determine why a bus chartered for a Canadian hockey team swerved and rammed a parked tractor-trailer so hard that the bus split in half lengthwise, killing four people and injuring 19.

Visibility at the time of the Saturday afternoon wreck was good, and the highway was dry and clear, state police Maj. Steven White said.

White said the bus driver, Ryan Comfort of Ontario, told police that he hit something in the road before the crash, but investigators had not yet verified that.

White said Comfort, being treated at a hospital in Rochester, was being watched by a state trooper to ensure that he does not leave the United States.

No charges had been filed. “However, that doesn’t mean (the driver) is not a person of interest,” Livingston County District Attorney Thomas Moran told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a three-member team to investigate, NTSB spokesman Paul Schlamm said.

Bus held women's hockey team
The Coach Canada bus was chartered by the Windsor, Ontario, Wildcats, a club hockey team of women ages 18 to 21. After a morning game in Rochester, it was taking some of the players, as well as family members and coaches, to a ski center when it struck the truck on Interstate 390, 27 miles south of Rochester.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, owned by Xtra Lease Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Pa., had parked it on the shoulder and was outside the cab when the bus rear-ended the rig, police said.

The truck driver and three bus passengers were killed. The dead bus passengers were a father and his son, and the mother of a player, said Mike Freeman, a scheduler for the Sun Parlour Female Hockey Association in Ontario.

“We’re all in shock here,” said Sue Sheridan, a public relations official for the hockey association. “This was supposed to be a fun trip for them.”

Three people were in guarded condition Sunday at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, hospital spokeswoman Leslie Orr said. She said Comfort was in satisfactory condition with a knee injury.

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