Eight people were killed while dozens more suffered serious injuries in a head-on collision between a semi-truck and a Greyhound bus. The state Office of the Medical Investigator released the names of five people who died in the crash that occurred near Thoreau, New Mexico. The victims named by medical investigators include Sadie Thomas, 50, Charla Bahe, 34, Terry Mason, 45, Veronica Williams, 49, and Greyhound bus driver Luis Alvarez, 50.
Preliminary information collected from the investigation suggests that the semi-truck was traveling on Interstate 40 when the vehicle blew out one of its tires. The blown tire caused the driver to lose control of the truck, which sent the massive vehicle careening across the median where it collided with the Greyhound bus.
Video footage of the accident showed a giant hole where the front end of the bus once was. Following up on reports of the accident, the New Mexico state Police released an update on twitter that said, “Many passengers with serious injuries were transported to a nearby hospital.”
Crystal Booker, spokeswoman for Greyhound, said the following about the tragic accident, “Our first priority is taking care of our passengers and their families, as this incident has deeply impacted all involved. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone as we continue to give our support to all affected.” According to Booker, 49 passengers, not including the driver, were aboard the bus when the deadly accident occurred. The Greyhound bus was traveling from Albuquerque to Phoenix, then Los Angeles.
Federal officials say they are intensifying the examination of the semi-trailer's front tires. According to Peter Kotowski, a senior investigator, the tires will be sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C.
CNN reports that a pregnant woman who survived the crash gave birth to twins after the accident. The birth took place at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services clinic in Gallup. Sonlee West, a surgeon and director of the hospital's trauma unit, said the twins were transported to the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.
In addition to the pregnant woman, 26 people were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. One of the accident victims died at the hospital. When asked if charges would be pressed against the driver of the semi-truck, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said, “There could be an expectation of charges depending on the outcome of the investigation. Equipment failure itself is not a chargeable incident. There have to be other factors."
The National Transportation Safety Board sent 10 investigators to New Mexico to inspect the accident scene.
The attorneys at Denver Trial Lawyers ® send our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in this tragic accident.
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