Federal investigators are seeking the cause of a charter bus crash near Dallas yesterday, killing two and injuring at least 41.
One of the two passengers killed was the organizer of the trip to the casino. The bus was carrying mostly senior citizens to the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma on a one-day gambling trip.
At least 44 people were transported to hospitals after the crash on President George Bush Turnpike in Irving, Texas, as reported by Department of Public Safety Sgt. Lonnie Haschel.
The Cardinal Coach Line bus was transporting 45 passengers, heading north on the President George Bush Turnpike when it suddenly veered to the right, across the highway, hitting two concrete barriers, swerved left across the lanes of traffic and struck a concrete median in a grassy area. “It rode up on top of that concrete barrier, and then rolled on its right hand side where it came to a rest,” Haschel said.
It was the only vehicle involved in the crash, Department of Public Safety reported.
At least four passengers were in critical condition, said Dr. Paul Pepe, Irving Fire Department’s medical director. Because many of the passengers were elderly, they were monitored even if they only had minor injuries, said Dr. Pepe, who is also chairman of emergency department at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Many of the passengers were trapped beneath the bus, according to rescue teams and witnesses.
Police and others used ladders to get to emergency exits on top of the bus to get the passengers out of the bus. Robert Hare, a passerby, told NBC5 that he pulled a half dozen people from the bus and that “bodies and blood” were everywhere.
Passenger Daniel Risik, 73-year-old man from Fort Worth told CNN affiliate KTVT that the bus crashed and then started to shake before turning over on its right side.
“People were on top of people, screaming, hollering yelling for help,” he said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the dead as 69-year-old Paul Hahn of Fort Worth and 81-year-old Sue Taylor of Hurst, a suburb near Fort Worth.
Family members say Taylor, known to passengers as “Casino Sue,” had organized such trips for about ten years.
The bus driver survived the crash and was sent to a hospital, Pepe said.
The Associated Press reported that Cardinal Coach buses have been subjected to roadside inspections by the Texas DPS three times in the past two years, according to the federal agency’s records. The most recent inspection was April 4, 2013, when the driver was cited for speeding and a violation relating to his logbook, neither of which led to an out-of-service order.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it has sent a team of investigators to the scene of the crash.