Two people killed as bus rolls over on Texas highway

DALLAS Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:56pm EDT

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DALLAS (Reuters) - Two people died on Thursday when the bus they were on board crashed and rolled over on a highway near Dallas, a Texas Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The bus, which was the only vehicle involved in the crash, had been carrying more than 30 people to a casino in Oklahoma, Trooper Lonny Haschel said. Injured passengers were taken to area hospitals.

The coach traveled off the shoulder, hit a barrier, went back across the roadway into a grassy median and struck a concrete divider, Haschel said.

"The bus rode up on top of that concrete divider for a short distance and then overturned and rolled on its right-hand side," he said.

The crash occurred about 9:30 a.m. (1430 GMT) on State Highway 161, the George Bush Tollway.

Michael Rey, a spokesman for the North Texas Tollway Authority, said the highway was shut down while emergency crews rescued people from the wreckage.

Fifteen of the injured were taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dr. Alex Eastman said on WFAA-TV. The patients ranged in age from about 66 to 80 years old and were all conscious when they came to the hospital, he said.

Thirteen on board were taken to Baylor Irving, hospital officials said. Eight were in good condition, two in fair condition and three were released, according to Julie Smith, a spokeswoman for Baylor Health Care System.

Two patients were in good condition at Baylor Dallas, Smith said.

It was the latest in a string of fatal bush crashes in the United States in recent years.

In February, a tour bus returning to Mexico from a ski outing at California's Big Bear Lake resort crashed on a California mountain road, killing eight people. A U.S. federal agency prohibited the bus company, Scapadas Magicas, from operating in the United States after the crash.

In December, 2012, a charter bus skidded off an icy mountain highway and plunged 200 feet in Oregon, killing nine people.

In March 2011, 15 people were killed in a crash in the Bronx in New York City that triggered a federal and state crackdown on bus operators, including proposed tough new measures to fit vehicles with speed-limiting devices and to require companies to get 10 years of driving records from potential employees. That bus had been bringing passengers back to New York City's Chinatown from a Connecticut casino.

(Reporting by Marice Richter and David Bailey; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan, Scott Malone, G Crosse and Kenneth Barry)

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