Authorities have reported, based on an interview with the driver, that the tractor-trailer blew out a tire and veered across a median before it hit a Greyhound bus head-on. According to New Mexico State Police, the accident occurred on I-40 near Thoreau.
The first five victims were identified as Charla Bale, 34, Terry Mason, 45, Veronica Jean Williams, 49, Sadie Thomas, 50, and Luis Alvarez, 50. Alvarez was driving the bus when the accident happened.
“My heart goes out to the families of these victims. We are always diligent to try and identify decedents quickly so we can release them back to their families,” Dr. Kurt Nolte, chief medical investigator, said in a statement. “We know there are other families who are still waiting for word of their loved ones and we are using several identification methods to make those identifications.”
New Mexico State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will continue an investigation on the incident. The NTSB will be analyzing information from the electronic logging devices (ELD), which have been mandated for all commercial vehicles since December 2017, for the Greyhound bus and the semi truck. The ELDs collect data by synchronizing with the engine of a vehicle to record driving time.
According to the NTSB, the ELDs are important to the investigation because they provide information on the vehicle’s motion.
Jag Trucking, Inc., which began operating in 2014, has been identified by the NTSB as the operator of the semi truck. The company began the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program un 2014, which was required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and completed the program with a satisfactory rating.
On Monday, NTSB investigators will meet with Jag company representatives and are attempting to schedule an interview with the driver. They’re currently an unrated carrier.
The NTSB has subpoenaed blood tests for both the semi driver and bus driver, and have begun the process of interviewing passengers on the bus for more information on the injuries caused by the crash.
The agency released photos of investigators inspection of the left tire of the truck, which may have caused the accident.
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