Brakes overheated

BRAKES OVERHEATED on a Turimex International commercial tour bus while coming down the mountain on U.S. 421 shortly after noon Tuesday. The bus was driven about 20 feet into the sand pile escape ramp. A fire beneath the front end was extinguished. The driver was able to back it out of the sand.

Emergency personnel responded to two calls in western Wilkes County on Tuesday, one in which a man was injured while cutting up a tree for firewood and the other a commercial tour bus that used a sand pile escape ramp on U.S. 421 West when its brakes overheated.

A 70-year-old man was injured while using a chainsaw on a felled tree when he tripped, tumbled down a slope and was struck in the chest and head by a large section of the tree he had cut that rolled down the slope, said Chief Cole Wyatt of the Wilkes Rescue Squad. The man had blunt trauma injuries but was conscious and alert at the scene, said Wyatt.

The accident occurred about 300-400 yards off Larkin’s Little Mountain Road, which is off N.C. 268 West in the Ferguson community. The victim’s wife reported it to the Wilkes Communications Center at 10:45 a.m. The couple live on Larkin’s Little Mountain Road.

The Ferguson Fire Department transported the man to the road and Wilkes Emergency Medical Services transported him to a field behind the Ferguson Fire Station. An AirCare helicopter transported him from that point to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. No details on his condition were immediately available but emergency personnel said his injuries didn’t appear to be life-threatening.

Ferguson Fire Chief Jeff Matherly said the Goshen Fire Department set up the landing zone on the old Ferguson school ball field behind the Ferguson Fire Station and the Champion Fire Department was on standby for Ferguson.

Tour bus enters sand pile escape ramp

The communications center dispatched Champion and other emergency personnel after a vehicle fire was reported at 12:19 p.m. Tuesday at the lower of two U.S. 421 sand pile escape ramps on the Blue Ridge Mountain escarpment.

Champion Fire Chief Craig Hollar said the brakes on a Turimex International commercial tour bus overheated while coming down the mountain on U.S. 421. Hollar said he was told at the scene that someone on the bus used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire under the front of the bus.

The bus went about 20 feet into the sand pile, but the driver was able to back it out to the paved portion of the escape ramp.

At least 30 Hispanic men were on the bus but no one was hurt, said Hollar, adding that the bus apparently wasn’t traveling very fast. He said the driver stated that the bus was traveling to Mexico.

He said the eastbound bus was seen traveling on U.S. 421 through the Champion community about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Turimex has terminals in Jefferson, Winston-Salem and elsewhere in North Carolina.

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