North Central Texas College Students Killed in Oklahoma Accident

Our condolences to the families of the 4 students killed in a tragic accident in Oklahoma last Friday.

The video below discusses the federal investigation of the accident.

The accident happened on September 26 at mile marker 47 on I35 in Murray County, Oklahoma. A 2013 Peterbilt pulling a semitrailer crossed the median to the other side of the highway and crashed into the side of a bus carrying the North Central Texas College softball team. The accident has been categorized as a homicide investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is one of several groups investigating the accident. They obtained and delivered supoenas for the medical records of the truck driver. They have also contacted the attorney for the truck driver and requested an interview with the truck driver. They are hoping the truck driver will cooperate and provide a first-hand account of what happened.

NTSB is also compiling maintenance records for the truck and the bus, looking at GPS tracking data from the truck, and gathering other evidence it can use to make a determination as to the cause of the accident. NTSB will also make recommendations for safety measures that can be taken to prevent similar accidents.

Evidence gathered to date suggests the truck left the highway, traveled through the median for about 950 feet and then entered the other side of the highway, where it crashed into the bus, causing critical injuries and wrongful death.

The bus and truck have been moved to a secure location, where NTSB and other investigators are inspecting them. The vehicles involved are a 2013 Peterbuilt truck with a semitrailer owned by Quickway Transportation of Nashville, Tennessee, and a 2008 Chevrolet Champion midsized bus. In addition to studying how the impact of the crash affected the vehicles, NTSB is looking at brakes, steering, suspension and other mechanicals. The agency is also looking at how the driver interfaces with the vehicle and his environment just prior to and during the crash. NTSB is also looking at motor carrier factors, including compliance with state and federal regulations.

The truck driver that crashed into the bus,  Russell Staley of Saginaw, Texas, said something in the truck distracted him, but he did not say what. Investigators are wondering why there are no signs of any evasive action by the truck driver.

Federal investigators say Staley drove an estimated 950 feet through the median before it reached the other side of the highway and crashed into the bus.  and off the highway before wrecking the trailer in the middle of several trees, National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said Monday.

“It’s pretty obvious that there was no swerving, no evasive steering maneuvers,” Robert Sumwalt, NTSB board member, said in a news conference. “The track through the grass, through the median, is very straight.”steering maneuvers,” Sumwalt told reporters. “The track through the grass, through the median, is very straight.”

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Category: Accidents
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