On August 30th, 48 passengers boarded a Greyhound bus that was headed toward California. Sadly, that same day, an unexpected accident occurred and only 40 people were able to walk away from the bus alive. While the Greyhound bus was traveling on I-40 near Thoreau, a tractor-trailer truck heading in the opposite direction on the other side of the interstate blew a tire which sent the 80,000-pound vehicle across a median and into the path of the bus.
The semi-tractor-trailer jackknifed and then crashed head-on with the Greyhound bus. After police and medics arrived at the horrific accident scene, police confirmed that eight people had died. Five of those people have already been identified, however, authorities are still working to identify the remaining three. According to ABC News, the five people who were killed in the crash were Sadie Thomas, 50, Charla Bahe, 34, Terry Mason, 45, Veronica Williams, 49, and Luis Alvarez, 50, who was the driver of the Greyhound bus. A medical investigator reported that they all died as a result of blunt force trauma.
The driver of the semi, who officials identified as Elisara Taito, managed to survive the crash. He had been hauling produce from California to Tennessee and when his tire blew, he said the truck “just locked up.”
Because of the severity of the accident and the fact that it involved two commercial vehicles, investigators from the New Mexico State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were called to the scene and will be conducting an on-going investigation. The news source stated that the tires from the semi will be sent to the NTSB in Washington D.C. for further examination and the agency is also requesting medical records and toxicology reports for both the truck driver and the operator of the bus.
Electronic data recorders have already been pulled from the vehicles and investigators will be looking into the data stored on the electronic logging devices (ELD), which keep track of how long a driver has been operating their vehicle. While the families of the deceased are likely awaiting answers to why this unfortunate accident had to occur, the investigation could take anywhere between 12-24 months to complete, says Oklahoma’s News 4.
Fox 23 News took the time to speak with one of the bus crash survivors who had been on the bus headed to California for a class reunion. The woman said that she “had turned sideways” and “was leaning with her back against a window.” She said she felt a “jolt” and remembers seeing “blood and busted lips.” The woman managed to walk away from the fatal crash with scratches on her shoulder and leg, a cracked tooth, and sore muscles. She also said she helped two children who had been seated behind her, “offering them food and keeping them calm.”
If you lost a loved one in a truck collision in New Mexico and are seeking legal guidance from a truck accident attorney who can help you understand what steps you should take following the incident, contact truck crash lawyer Brian K. Branch. Our firm understands how difficult this time may be for you and your family and is here to provide you with the support and advice that may be able to help you through it.
So, if you would like to speak with an attorney who can listen to your concerns and address any questions you may have, call us now at 505-207-4401.