Recently, on the Interstate 20 outside of Odessa, a prison bus collided with a train, resulting in the death of 10 people and severe injuries for five others.
According to local news reports, the bus, which had been transporting correctional officers and minimum security prisoners, skidded off the interstate on an icy patch, went down an embankment, and collided with the train, which was moving.
Vehicular accidents of this magnitude are rare. The outcome also would have been different had the bus gone down the embankment and on to bare railroad tracks.
But the accident still raises some issues that are common concerns across different types of vehicular collisions. These include the following:
- Could the driver have spotted and possibly avoided the icy patch of road?
- At what speed was the bus going? Was the driver obeying traffic laws?
- Aside from the ice, what other factors might have contributed to the accident? For example, that stretch of the I-20 might be especially treacherous because of how it curves or some other structural issue. Although human error generally contributes the most to vehicular accidents, it’s important to look at elements in the surroundings.
- The prisoners in the bus were apparently handcuffed in pairs, but weren’t restrained with seat belts. Some of them wound up getting ejected from the bus after it crashed (something similar could have happened even without the train present). Why weren’t they wearing seat belts? Whose decision was it? In general, it’s important to look into what effect, if any, a third party might have had on a crash.
After any kind of serious vehicular accident, it’s important to contact a reputable auto accident attorney. Your attorney can help you examine the events leading up to the accident and determine who, if anyone, was at fault. With a better understanding of what happened, you can work more effectively towards obtaining compensation from insurance companies and, in some cases, filing a civil suit against negligent parties.