Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Reuters): At least 38 people were killed and about a dozen injured in northern Haiti after a bus drove into a parade of pedestrians while fleeing from an accident, civil protection authorities said on Sunday.

The bus , which was traveling from Cap Haitien to the capital Port-au-Prince, initially hit two people in a town outside Gonaives in northern Haiti , killing one, said Joseph Faustin, civil protection head in the Artibonite department.

The bus driver then fled and crashed into three "rara" parades in Mapou, about 5 km (3 miles) away, Faustin said. Rara parades, which usually take place around Easter, are groupings of musicians playing traditional instruments who are often joined by passers-by.

In total, 34 people were killed at the scene and an another four people died in hospital, said Fred Henry, the area's deputy representative, who added that the incident had occurred around 4 a.m. "Usually the drivers involved in such accidents don't stop because they are afraid they might be killed [in reprisal]," Henry said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident. The driver and passengers on the bus were taken to the police station, said Patrick Cherilus, a Civil Protection spokesman for Artibonite. They have since been released and the bus driver has fled, said Jean Bazlais Bornelus, the police chief for the area.