A tractor-trailer rig collided Tuesday with a Greyhound bus and a truck on icy Interstate 80 near the Utah-Wyoming line, killing seven people and leaving five of the 16 injured in "very critical" condition, authorities said.
Passenger Stuart Palmer of Buffalo said the bus driver could do nothing after one of the trucks slammed into the left side of the bus, forcing it off the road and down a 35-foot embankment.
"There was nothing the driver could do," he said.
Palmer was released from the hospital with a broken ankle and a bruised knee.
The bus, en route to Chicago from Salt Lake City, had more than 40 passengers aboard, but Greyhound dispatcher Bill Moore could not provide an exact count.
Officials believed all the dead were bus passengers, and luggage strewn around the scene was searched for clues to their identities, sheriff's Sgt. Robert Berry said.
Palmer, a mechanic who was returning to Buffalo after visiting his brother in Sacramento, Calif., said the eastbound bus was behind a tractor-trailer when a westbound rig apparently lost control and slammed into the eastbound rig.
"We were broadsided by the trailer, and that pushed us over the embankment; the bus rolled over and slid," said Palmer, speaking from Evanston, Wyo., Tuesday night.
Palmer, who celebrated his 38th birthday Tuesday, said he considered himself lucky because a passenger behind him suffered more severe injuries. He said the highway was slushy and snow was drifting.
Despite being shaken, Palmer, who has a cast on his foot, said he planned to board a bus today to resume his journey back to Buffalo.