The Washington Post reports that a bus driver with “acute sleep deficit” lost control of his vehicle on a wet highway north of Laredo and crashed.
The bus began its journey in Brownsville, Texas and was en route to the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass when the crash happened. Investigators believe the driver attempted to react to the bus drifting out of its lane, but overcorrected and braked abruptly. Recent rain and an inoperable antilock braking system complicated the situation.
Seven passengers were died at the scene, an eight died while en route to the hospital, and a ninth passed a few days later.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the driver had slept little in the hours preceding the crash and had blurred vision caused by hyperglycemia resulting from poorly controlled diabetes. The NTSB also found that the windows on the driver side of the bus gave way too easily, allowing passengers to be thrown from the vehicle.
In addition to their determinations on the driver and the bus, the NTSB found that the stretch of highway where the crash occurred had not been treated with a common pavement texture that reduces skidding.
Over the past five years, 50 crashes have occurred, resulting in three additional deaths.
A spokesperson for TxDOT’s Laredo district declined to comment, saying more time is needed to review the NTSB’s findings.
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