Federal investigators arrived at the scene of a deadly charter bus crash near Laredo, Texas, over the weekend. The single-vehicle crash left at least eight people dead and 44 injured, making it the deadliest crash to occur in Texas in years.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) sent officials to the crash site Sunday to head an investigation. Webb County officials told the press that that the rollover crash occurred around 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon local time on U.S. Highway 83 about 46 miles north of Laredo and eight miles north of the Mexican border.
The charter bus, owned and operated by OGA Charters of San Juan, Texas, departed from the Rio Grande Valley in southeastern Texas and was headed to a casino in Eagle Pass, Texas, when the crash occurred.
Public Safety Trooper Conrad Hein told KENS-TV San Antonio that seven of the bus passengers died at the scene and an eighth person died later at the hospital. The injured passengers were taken to hospitals in Laredo and Dimmit Counties.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) records show that six driver and vehicle inspections since 2014 resulted in 15 violations, including Hours-of-Service (HOS) and maintenance violations. HOS rules regulate the time commercial drivers may spend behind the wheel and are designed to prevent fatigued driving.
According to the Associated Press, Louisiana state inspectors ordered OGA buses off the road twice last year for brake and emergency exit problems.
In January 2015, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice bus jumped an overpass west of Odessa, Texas, falling 20 feet onto a Union Pacific freight train below. The crash killed two state corrections officers and eight inmates. The NTSB concluded last week that the crash was caused by a displaced section of guardrail that the bus accidentally struck.
In 2008, 17 bus passengers headed to a religious retreat in Missouri died when their bus plunged off of a highway bridge near Sherman, Texas. The NTSB said the driver lost control of the vehicle after a retreaded tire illegally affixed to the front axle struck an unknown object and blew.