UPDATE – Authorities on Saturday identified five of the eight people who died in this week’s crash involving a Greyhound bus and a semitrailer on Interstate 40 in New Mexico.
The victims were identified as Sadie Thomas, 50; Charla Bahe, 34; Terry Mason, 45; Luis Alvarez, 50; and Veronica Jean Williams, 49, the Office of the Medical Investigator in New Mexico announced in a news release. Alvarez was the bus driver.
At least eight people were killed and more than 40 injured after aon a busy New Mexico highway Thursday. One survivor, Rachel Cunningham, who said she was asleep on the Greyhound when the crash happened, woke up to a gaping hole in the bus’ passenger side.
“It was horrifying. Like, I’ve never actually seen in my life a bus look like a ripped open sardine can,” Cunningham said.
Forty-nine people were on board when the crash happened near Thoreau, New Mexico.
Debris from the wreckage littered the stretch of Interstate 40, with the semi-trailer spilt open, the truck’s cab upside down, and in the middle, the front end of the shredded shell of the Greyhound bus completely ripped off.
The bus, headed from St. Louis to Los Angeles, left Albuquerque Thursday and was on the road for about two hours when, police say, the semi-truck blew one of its tires and swerved across the median – right into oncoming traffic.
Survivors and bystanders turned into first responders, climbing ladders with emergency crews to reach passengers still trapped inside.
“It was nonstop,” said Chris Jones, who stopped to help with the rescue. “There weren’t enough ambulances there to get everybody out. … There’s people that were stuck in the bus trying to get out, screams from inside there.”
This is the second deadly crash involving a bus and a semi-truck in New Mexico this summer. In July, three people were killed when a passenger bus rolled into oncoming traffic. Thursday’s incident shut down part of Interstate 40 for nearly eight hours, as crews worked into the night to clear the wreck.
Officials said the truck driver from Thursday’s collision is expected to recover.
The OMI has determined that the eight victims died from accidental blunt-force trauma, according to the news release. The crash also left 25 others injured, including three young children.
“We know there are other families who are still waiting for word of their loved ones and we are using several identification methods to make those identifications,” Nolte said.
Also Friday, California-based trucking company JAG Transportation Inc. and one of its drivers were accused of negligence in a pair of lawsuits filed in connection with the crash as investigators continued to sort through the wreckage.
The Greyhound bus carrying nearly 50 people was headed west along Interstate 40 in Thoreau, New Mexico, on Thursday 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.
The front of the bus was mangled, the cab of the semi was flipped and the trailer was on its side as debris was scattered across the highway. Passing motorists stopped to help passengers climb out of the wreckage before authorities arrived.
The crash happened after the semi-trailer going in the opposite direction lost the tread on its left front tire, authorities said.
The medical records and toxicology reports about the driver of the semi-trailer have been requested. The electronic data recorders for the semi-trailer and bus have been recovered.
Victims of the bus wreck have already begun seeking legal representation and may be entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries due to negligence.
We are here to provide help to the families of those effected by tragic accidents. Reyes Browne Reilley has experience in matters such as these, one being the Cardinal Coach Line / Choctaw Casino fatal bus crash back in 2013. The Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm attorney Spencer Browne represented the family of Paula Hahn in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the casino charter bus wreck on the George Bush Turnpike, which a Dallas County jury later ordered Choctaw Nation to pay Ms. Hahn’s family $6M.
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a bus accident, please contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Just complete the contact form on this page, or call us at 214-612-7577.