PHOENIX -- Two people are in the hospital after a bus carrying 40 passengers hit a car early Monday morning, and a drowsy driver behind the wheel of a third vehicle might be to blame.
According to the Department of Public Safety, a young driver fell asleep at the wheel and rear-ended a white Nissan on eastbound Interstate 10 near 40th Street.
The Nissan spun out, coming to a stop in the middle of the freeway. The driver and passenger were able to get out safely.
As the drowsy driver pulled over a short distance away, a bus heading from Los Angeles to El Paso hit the Nissan, causing it to burst into flames.
Forty people were on that bus. Two who were sitting in the front seats were taken to a local hospital. One of them suffered minor injuries; the other was transported as a precaution.
"When we hit, it was very hard," a passenger who was sitting in the back of the bus told 3TV.
Another bus picked up the stranded passengers.
DPS officers cited the driver who allegedly fell asleep at the wheel and caused the initial crash.
Safety experts say drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
"Like alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of crashing," according to DrowsyDriving.org.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, drowsy drivers cause more than 10,000 crashes every year.