On Thursday, a commercial truck veered into oncoming traffic and hit a Greyhound bus head-on. The bus originated in St. Louis and was traveling on Interstate 40 toward its next stop in Phoenix. So far, officials have revealed that the death toll has climbed to 8.
At approximately 12:30 p.m., the truck was heading east on Interstate 40 when it had a tire blowout. The driver of the commercial truck was unable to control the vehicle as it swerved over the median and hit the Greyhound bus head-on. Images from the accident showed the overturned truck and the Greyhound bus, which was missing most of its front end.
In an early statement, New Mexico Police Officer Ray Wilson said that seven people had died, and the death toll was expected to rise. This prediction became a reality as officials announced on Friday morning that an eighth victim died after succumbing to injuries. Dozens of the 49 passengers were sent to the hospital and the driver of the truck experienced non life-threatening injuries. As of Friday morning, 10 passengers were still being treated in Albuquerque for serious injuries, including some that will require surgery. Three children are among the seriously injured.
Greyhound has released a statement announcing that it is working with authorities and will launch its own investigation into the accident. It has not been revealed if the truck driver was working for a company.
A Heartbreaking Accident Scene
After the accident, witnesses gave heartbreaking accounts regarding the scene of the incident. Marc Gonzalez told KRQE that the scene was a “complete catastrophe.” Gonzalez gave a personal account of the tragedy by saying, “You could tell that people were distressed, screams were coming from the bus.”
As travelers filed slowly by the accident, many were witness to its destruction. Truck driver Santos Soto said, “I was really traumatized myself.” He went on to say that, “I’ve been driving for about two years and I have never seen anything like that before. I’m a pretty strong person and I broke down and cried for almost 30 minutes.” After seeing the damaged bus and truck surrounded by debris, witness Eric Hoff described the accident as “an awe-inspiring terrible scene.”
Tire Safety Saves Lives
The New Mexico bus accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin know that proper tire maintenance and safety practices save lives. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that bad tires accounted for 11,000 of the nation’s highway accidents. In 2016, 733 traffic fatalities were caused by tire malfunctions. When trucks have a blowout, they can roll over or, as seen in New Mexico, cause catastrophic damage to other vehicles.
Arnold & Itkin will continue to follow this story as more information is released. We hope for the full recovery of those who are currently battling injuries from this tragic incident.