One victim was killed and several others injured in a fatal collision between a school bus and a commercial tractor-trailer in Texas this past Friday. According to authorities, the crash took place Friday evening on Interstate 20 in Big Springs following a football game in Colorado City. Representatives from the Iraan-Sheffield School District report the school bus was carrying six high school cheerleaders and two cheerleader sponsors.
Officials have not yet determined the underlying cause of the crash and are continuing investigations. At the time of the collision, the bus had been roughly 40 miles into a 160 mile trip to Iraan, Texas and, due to poor weather conditions, roads were wet and visibility was limited. Westbound lanes of the interstate were also closed and traffic was being diverted, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety – a situation similar to a tragic bus crash in California in October that killed 13 and injured over 30 victims.
The victim killed in the crash was a 52-year-old sponsor of the West Texas high school cheer team. Eight other victims were injured in the wreck and transported to nearby hospitals, including two victims listed in critical condition.
Investigators in this particular crash will be tasked with sifting through a range of possible causes, including common issues involving drivers’ backgrounds, operator error, alcohol, drugs, distraction, and fatigue. For example, following a recent fatal crash in Baltimore last month, it was discovered that the school bus driver involved did not have a valid commercial driver’s license and had medical issues he failed to report to regulators.
In addition to investigating drivers of the vehicles and their backgrounds, investigators will also likely take a close look at the vehicles involved and the companies / organizations which operated them. They will be paying close attention to any possible mechanical issues and the history of vehicle maintenance for signs of possible regulation violations.
Official investigations and investigations conducted by independent groups, such as personal injury lawyers, are essential in not only determining what caused the crash and whether it could have been prevented, but also in aiding victims and their loved ones in the event they pursue compensation through civil lawsuits. If it is found that negligence played a role in the collision, responsible parties could be held liable for the damages victims and survivors suffered.
Crashes involving buses, trucks, and commercial vehicles happen all the time, and as we’ve seen, they can have devastating results. Our team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has worked with many victims of truck and bus accidents over the years, and we wish for the best as victims recover and begin to better understand their legal rights.