8 people were killed and 44 people were injured when a bus rolled over in Texas last Saturday. The accident happened about 46 miles north of the Texas town of Laredo. It was reported that the bus was alone on the highway when the accident occurred and it was raining. The bus is owned and operated by OGA Charters, a small bus company that is located in the state of Louisiana.
The motor coach company has been cited by the organization of bus inspectors in Louisiana in the past. The inspectors had one of the company's buses in their fleet to be taken off the road. They ordered to have the buses' brakes fixed, as well as it's emergency exit issues. This is apparently not the first incident involving the charter company, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSA). The bus company had a similar inspection result in August of last year.
As of the moment, it still not confirmed if the bus involved in the fatal crash is the same bus that was sanctioned in Louisiana in 2015. The company has a fairly small fleet, owning only two buses. The FMSA gave the charter company a satisfactory rating in 2014 before imposing the off the road order in 2015.
It was raining at 11:30 am that day when the bus rolled over. The local fire department has not made it known whether or not the weather conditions were a determining factor in the crash. All 44 people injured were taken to hospitals in Laredo, TX and Dimmit County, TX. Officials who investigated the crash have stated that the operations of the company will be thoroughly looked into.
Although it has been cited for some violations both in operations and driving, the bus company did not have any accidents in the last two years of operation. Violations include issues with vehicle maintenance, driver logs with too many hours on the road. Motor Carrier Safety Administration will take these facts into consideration in the investigation of the crash.
The bus’ brake issues that were examined in Louisiana were not just minor. It was reported that at least 20% of the bus’ brakes were not working properly. There were also problems with the automated adjustment system of the brakes. According to rules, if more than 20 percent of the bus’ brakes are found to be defective, the bus’ operation will be suspended. It was also observed that the bus had a discolored windshield.
A second investigation was done four months later, which also resulted into finding similar issues such as the break, windshield and emergency exit problems. The brake problems that were observed on the second inspection were found to be less serious than the first inspection, investigators still concluded that the company made few efforts to fix the problems found in the previous inspection done by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Albeit the bus’ history, the FMCSA still couldn’t prove that it is the direct cause of the crash; considering the wet condition of the road. The bus did roll over and it was a one-vehicle crash.
While 44 people were injured in the crash, 8 people also died in the accident. 7 of them were found dead at the scene and one of the others succumbed to their injuries after they got to the hospital for treatment. At this moment, the ages of each victim of the crash are not yet identified although it was reported that the youngest victim was in his or her early 50s. Most of them were from Texas.
There were few witnesses to the crash besides the people that were riding on the bus because it happened in a fairly remote area. The bus was headed to a casino when it rolled over. It still had about 80 miles left to their destination.
If you or someone you know was injured in a bus accident, learn about your rights on our bus accidents page.