Yesterday around 12:35 PM, a tour bus accident in Mississippi killed 2 passengers and injured 44 others. The bus rolled over in what the Mississippi Highway Patrol called a "weather-related" crash. It occurred on Interstate 269 near Byhalia, MS, less than an hour away from Memphis. The bus, which was operated by Teague VIP Express, reportedly had 46 people aboard (including the driver). The passengers who were killed were from Huntsville, AL, where the bus departed. The tour bus was en route to Tunica County to visit a casino.
The 44 injured people were taken to 3 major hospitals in the area: 19 to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Southaven, MS; 7 to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville in Mephis, TN; and 18 to Methodist Hospital Olive Branch in the city of the same name. At the time it was reported, only 3 passengers were in serious condition; there could be more, as two hospitals did not report the condition of their patients.
The Cause of the Mississippi Tour Bus Accident Near Memphis
The highway was reportedly icing over yesterday afternoon. A storm had covered the area with sleet and light snow, which left a thin and freezable layer on roads and bridges. The Mississippi Department of Transportation reported ice on roads and bridges in 10 counties throughout the northern part of the state. Additionally, the Mississippi Highway Patrol released a statement that said the crash was weather-related, but officers didn't clarify or elaborate.
Witnesses reported that the bus driver lost control when they crossed an overpass that was iced over. The bus then rolled over onto the driver's side, stopping in the median. An NTSB spokesperson said the agency hasn't determined if it will investigate the crash.
Agency records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that Teague VIP Express had all three of their buses fail random inspections in February 2017. One was ordered off the road due to worn or missing steering components, and another was taken off the road for steering problems and a defective axle. FCMSA spokesman William DeBruyne declined to comment on the tour bus crash, but he mentioned that buses are only ordered out of service because they're an "imminent hazard."
The Second Tour Bus to Crash En Route to a Mississippi Casino in 2 Years
In March 2017, a strikingly similar bus accident ended in the deaths of 4 passengers and injured 38 others. A charter tour bus carrying senior citizens from Texas to a casino in Biloxi got stuck on some train tracks and was struck by a freight train. The NTSB blamed the crash on a failure between the city and the railroad to improve the safety of a sharply-angled grade crossing.
Our bus accident lawyers hope that investigators are able to get some answers about what specifically caused the accident and how it can be prevented. We also hope for the speedy recovery of the people injured in the crash, as well as comfort for the grieving.