A charter bus bound for Oklahoma overturned on a Dallas turnpike on April 12. Witnesses stated that the bus went off the road on the right shoulder, slammed against a barrier, then over corrected to the left across several lanes of traffic and hit a concrete median. The bus then rode over the concrete barrier, flipped on its right side and came to rest. What caused the accident has yet to be determined; investigators are examining physical evidence in the area and inspecting the vehicle, and have reported that they expect the investigation to be a lengthy one.
“The latest report is that the driver was previously investigated for a prior accident,” stated Waxahachie personal injury attorney John Hale. “That certainly may raise a red flag.”
Loyd Rieve, 65, was driving a bus in 1998 when he ran over or hit a man who was offering aid at the scene of another accident. After an investigation, the grand jury declined to pursue a charge of criminally negligent homicide, but Rieve later faced several civil suits.
The charter bus carrying 33 passengers and the driver, Rieve, was on the President George Bush Turnpike in Irving, headed to a casino in Oklahoma, when it flipped. Rescuers were able to assist all passengers out of the bus; 16 people were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, and two people died. The charter bus landed on its right side, on the exit doors; passengers had to push open windows and use them to exit the bus, or climb out the hatches on the roof. Witness reported that at least two people were pinned under the overturned bus.
According to a study conducted in 2009, approximately 221 fatal bus accidents happen per year. Even though traveling by bus is vastly safer than driving by car, according to traffic statistics, the number of accidents involving buses is growing and of concern to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA). The FMCA has determined that most bus crashes happen due to driver negligence: 15 out of 19 bus accidents examined were determined to be the driver’s fault. Fault may have occurred due to driver fatigue, excess speed, driving too fast for the prevailing weather conditions, driving which included abrupt lane changes and veering off the road.
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165