OLD TOWN, Maine — The driver of the Cyr Bus Lines motor coach who was hurt in a Tuesday night crash while transporting members of the University of Maine women’s basketball team to a game in Boston is showing signs of improvement, a company official said Friday.
Jeff Hamlin, 55, of Charleston was listed in good condition early Friday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman for Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Hamlin had been listed in fair condition the previous day.
At the time of the crash, the Black Bears were on their way to Boston for Wednesday’s scheduled America East game against Boston University. The game was postponed because of the accident.
Though Hamlin and his family declined requests for interviews on Thursday and Friday, Rick Vaillancourt, safety coordinator for the Old Town-based bus company, was able to provide some new information about how Hamlin is faring.
Vaillancourt said Friday afternoon that Rick Soules, the company’s general manager, visited the driver and members of his family on Thursday at the Boston medical facility.
“He’s up walking around and talking. That’s good news,” Vaillancourt said. He said that Hamlin has been admitted to Brigham and Women’s Burn Center.
“He is just beginning treatment,” Vaillancourt said.
According to Massachusetts State Police, Hamlin was seriously injured Tuesday night, when the bus he was driving in Georgetown, Mass., careened from the southbound side of Interstate 95, across the median and crashed into trees on the northbound side.
Police said they believe Hamlin might have experienced a medical episode that caused him to lose consciousness behind the wheel. Vaillancourt said company officials have been told that Hamlin’s burns were the result of exposure to coolant from the bus’s heating system.
After the accident, Hamlin was airlifted to Boston Medical Center and then taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Several of the student-athletes and their coach suffered minor injuries.
The crash, which did not involve other vehicles, remains under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police, who already have said that it is unlikely that charges will be filed.
Soules said Thursday that while Hamlin had been working for the Old Town-based company for only a couple of months, he is an experienced driver and recently underwent two physical examinations as part of the process of applying for motor coach and school bus drivers license endorsements.
Soules also said that Hamlin underwent background checks — including a check of his driving records — before he was hired by Cyr Bus and that he came to the company with good recommendations from his former employer in New York. Soules declined to identify the former employer.