Blown Tire May Have Caused Deadly Bus Accident

Officials investigate a deadly crash accident involving a charter bus carrying a Vietnamese Catholic group from Houston to annual pilgrimage in Missouri. It slammed into its side and skidded off a freeway in north Texas. Pat Hernandez says one cause might be a defective tire.

The accident happened in Sherman north of Dallas. The bus carrying fifty-five people apparently lost control and rolled on its side.

bus wreckage“As bad as it is…could have been a lot worse.”

Sherman Mayor Bill Magers was on the scene, offering any help he could to the victims.

“The front right end of the bus is just crushed, from basically the driver’s side back a few rows, it’s just completely demolished. The whole right side has been banged up, as I said. If you look at the bus, you walk away saying, I can’t believe it wasn’t worse.”

The vehicle was part of a caravan of three buses with passengers from two Houston parishes, Our Lady of Lavang and Vietnamese Martyrs. Parishioners at that church were in shock.

Vietnamese Martyrs church“My wife cry, I cry all day.”

“Oh, all them go to heaven so, I pray for them.”
“Considering where they were going and what they were about to do, this is very tragic, very hard.”

Claudia Deschamps with the Galveston-Houston archdiocese says the caravan was on its way to a religious gathering in Carthage, Missouri.

“This is an annual pilgrimage in which Vietnamese Catholics from all over the nation gather. There’s like sixty-thousand people there. It culminates with the Feast of the Assumption and it commemorates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.”

Preliminary indications were that the bus may have blown a tire, causing the driver to lose control. Houston attorney Rob Ammons handles products liability cases. He knows what investigators will be looking for.

“Absolutely, the cause of the crash, if it is related to a tire failure, could be something that may give rise to a design or manufacturing defect case involving that tire. It cold also be the result of a road hazard, or other conditions that occurred during the tire service.”

Federal records show that the bus, operated by a Houston charter company, has an application pending with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and was not yet approved for operation.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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