Bastrop Bus Accident Lawyer
Bastrop Senior Center Bus Accident Lawyer
Shortly after 2:00 p.m. on March 7, 2017 a charter bus belonging to Dallas-headquartered
Echo Tours & Charters was struck by a CSX freight train in Biloxi,
MS. According to on-scene rescue personnel, at least three passengers
on the bus were killed in the accident with an additional thirty-five
passengers suffering injuries that required transportation to area hospitals.
A fourth passenger died later at a local hospital.
The tour bus was reported to have been chartered by the Bastrop Senior
Center and that the passengers appeared to be residents of Bastrop or
Lockhart, both located about an hour southeast of Austin. Family members
of the tour bus passengers were reported as having said that the bus had
left Bastrop Sunday afternoon and was due to return on Saturday (March 11).
According to witnesses, the bus had either stalled on the railroad tracks
that parallel Main Street due to engine problems or had become stuck on
the tracks due to an unusually shallow road grade. Biloxi fire and police
sources are reported to have stated that there had been other accidents
at the same location where trucks or long wheelbase vehicles had become
stuck on the tracks and were struck by trains.
Citing information obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
Austin television station KXAN reported that tour buses belonging to Dallas-based
Echo Tours & Charters LP had been involved in six accidents in the
past two years. One of those accidents resulted in at least one injury
and five required the vehicle to be towed away. According to the FMCSA,
Echo Tours & Charters employs 169 drivers and operates 113 vehicles
from locations in Dallas, Houston, Waco, and Tyler.
Over this same two-year period, KXAN reported that there were 24 traffic
or safety violations charged to the company’s drivers, or the company
- Driver was not licensed to operate that specific type of motor vehicle
- Driver using a hand-held mobile telephone while the vehicle was in motion
with passengers on board
- Driver failed to obey a traffic control device and/or traffic sign
- Driving in excess of posted speed limit
- Equipment problems related to brakes, windshield, and emergency exits
It is unknown if the driver of the bus had been previously cited or was
one of the drivers mentioned by the FMCSA.
According to a statement attributed to CSX, a freight train consisting
of three locomotives and 52 freight cars (27 loaded) was traveling west
to east from New Orleans en route to Mobile, AL when it struck a chartered
bus carrying about 50 passengers and a single driver. It is not known
if the CSX freight train appeared to be following the speed restrictions
for a train passing through a populated area or if it was braking at the
time that it struck the bus.
A Google Maps ® “street view” image dated “4/2013”
of the accident scene demonstrates the railroad crossing to have been
clearly marked and protected by an active crossing guard consisting of
flashing red signal lights, an audible alarm, and automatic crossing barriers.
Pavement markings indicating safe stopping distances are also clearly
visible, as is a black on yellow diamond-shaped sign warning of “Low
Ground Clearance.” A review of the news footage and still photographs
from the accident scene do not seem to suggest that there were any significant
obstructions to either the bus driver’s or the train crew’s vision.
Although an “official” opinion as to the cause of the accident
will not be available for many months, currently available information
seems to indicate that there are several inferences that seem to be supported:
- The bus driver was attempting to make a legal crossing of the railroad
tracks while there was no reason to believe that a train may have been
- The driver either did not see the “Low Ground Clearance” warning
sign or saw the sign but neglected to heed its warning.
- Some bus passengers were apparently trying to exit the bus via an emergency
exit in the seconds prior to impact.
- Since there appears to have been nothing that would have obstructed the
train crew’s vision, the witnesses reports that the train pushed
the bus several hundred feet after impact could indicate that A) the train
crew did not see the bus until relatively shortly before impact and/or
B) the train was traveling faster than the “official” rate
set by CSX policy.
Regardless of the final report that will be issued later by investigators
from the National Transportation Safety Board, Mississippi law clearly
states that those who have been injured due to the negligence of another
have the right to be compensated for their injuries and for the deaths
of their family members. Those wishing to arrange a free, no-obligation,
review of a possible legal action regarding this accident can contact
the Echo Tours & Charters accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm of
Austin by calling (512) 806-0000 to arrange a free consultation regarding
the Echo Tours & Charters bus accident.
The Doan Law Firm 100 Congress Avenue Suite 2000 Austin, Texas 78701 (512) 806-0000