Texas charter bus accident kills one

Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 1:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 1:00 p.m.

VICTORIA, Texas - A charter bus veered off a highway early Wednesday and flipped onto its side, killing one passenger and injuring dozens of other people, at least nine of them critically, authorities said.

After the bus overturned on U.S. 59, a small pickup truck rammed into it, said Tom Vinger, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. The driver of the truck was not injured.

The bus had left Monterrey, Mexico, about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and was headed to Houston when crashed about 4:15 a.m., Vinger said.

"The investigation is centering on driver fatigue," Vinger said. "It looks like he ran off the road, way overcorrected then tipped over on the passenger side." Weather was not a factor in the wreck, he said.

The identity of the man who was killed wasn't immediately released, nor was the name of the bus company or its driver. Vinger said the driver wasn't seriously injured, and that it was too early to tell whether he could face charges.

Of the 49 people on the bus, 25 were taken to Detar Hospital Navarro in Victoria, nine of them in critical condition, spokeswoman Judith Barefield said.

Several were in surgery and one person was transferred to a hospital in San Antonio for a higher level of treatment, she said. Others were being treated for minor injuries and two had been treated and released, she said.

Officials at Citizens Medical Center in Victoria said 24 people were taken there, and three were being airlifted to hospitals in San Antonio.

The Citizens emergency room was dealing with multiple orthopedic injuries, including three or four broken backs, spokeswoman Shannon Spree said. Several people had been treated and released, though she didn't have a specific number.

Victoria is about 125 miles southwest of Houston and 110 miles southeast of San Antonio.

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