As investigators sorted through the wreckage of a deadly bus crash along a New Mexico highway that killed several and left many others injured, a California trucking company and one of its drivers were accused of the deadly negligence.
BY ELISE KAPLAN / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A California-based trucking company and one of its drivers were accused of negligence in a pair of lawsuits as investigators sorted through the wreckage from a deadly bus crash on a New Mexico highway. Eight people were killed and 25 injured, including three young children.
The Greyhound bus carrying nearly 50 people was headed west along Interstate 40 on when a semitrailer going in the opposite direction lost the tread on its left front tire and veered across a median and smashed into the bus, police said.
After a long investigation, The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on the fatal Aug. 30 crash involving the Greyhound bus and a semitrailer found no mechanical defects to either vehicle and neither driver had consumed drugs or alcohol.
Originally it was thought that the tread that came off the semitrailer tire was to blame. Therefore, investigators have sent the truck’s tire blamed for the crash to the NTSB materials laboratory for more testing. They are also continuing to look at maintenance records for the truck, and the qualifications, medical records, training and experience of both drivers.
In the days after the crash near Thoreau, New Mexico State Police said the tread on the left front tire separated from its casing, causing the truck going east on Interstate 40 to hurtle across the median and into oncoming traffic. The truck then crashed into the Greyhound bus carrying 48 passengers.
Eight people, including the bus driver, were killed and a passenger prematurely went into labor, delivering twins at a local hospital shortly afterward. Several days later, one of those babies died. Thirty-eight other passengers were injured.
According to the NTSB report, the Jag Transportation truck was hauling produce from California to Memphis, Tenn., when the left front tire “experienced a sudden air loss.” The 35-year-old driver “lost control of the vehicle, entered the 33-foot-wide depressed earthen median, jackknifed, and continued into the westbound lanes – striking a 2015 MCI motor coach.”
The speed limit in the area is 75 mph.
Investigators say all seats on the bus have lap and shoulder belts, but they are still looking into how many passengers were using them. Electronic driver logs and recording devices are also being reviewed.
The report is preliminary and other factors in the crash could be discovered throughout the rest of the investigation.
“All aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB focuses on determining the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes,” the report states. “We are working in conjunction with the New Mexico State Police, the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to compile a complete and accurate account of the crash.”
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Truck, Bus or another vehicle accident, we are here to help. The Truck Accident Law Firm will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about what we will do to fight for you. Call 888-511-TRUCK, all consultations are free and you will not pay a fee until we win for you.
© Albuquergue Journal, shared content