Eight inmates and two correctional officers were killed when a prison bus skidded off an icy Texas highway, slid down an embankment and collided with a freight train on Wednesday, Jan. 14.
The bus, carrying the prisoners to Sanchez Prison in El Paso, was not equipped with seatbelts and the prisoners were handcuffed in pairs. Only the driver’s seat had a seatbelt. The prisoners did not have leg restraints at the time of the collision.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, some of the victims were ejected from the bus after it struck the train.
"It's as bad as you can imagine," Odessa Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Kavin Tinney told the Odessa American newspaper. "In 32 years it's as bad as anything I've seen."
At about 7:30 a.m., the bus came to rest on its side next to the railroad tracks. The vehicle was crumpled and had heavy damage to its front and undercarriage. The Union Pacific freight train the bus collided with was stopped after the crash. None of the train’s cars were derailed, but there was damage to the rear of the train. No employees aboard the train were injured.
According to a prison system statement, Christopher Davis, 53, and Eligio Garcia, 45; and inmates Byron Wilson, 34; Tyler Townsend, 29; Jesus Reyna, 44; Kaleb Wise, 22; Adolfo Ruiz, 32; Michael Sewart, 25; Angel Vasquez, 31; and Jeremiah Rodriguez, 35 were killed in the crash.
In addition to the fatalities, four prisoners and a correctional officer were also injured in the crash.
This is the second fatal motor vehicle accident involving inmates in the past year. In June 2014, an inmate was killed and several others injured when a Department of Criminal Justice van collided with another car in Central Texas.
No matter who the victims are, a fatal accident is a devastating situation for the surviving family members. Our auto accident lawyers and support staff would like to extend our deepest condolences go out to all the family members who lost a loved one in this tragic accident.
If someone you love has been wrongfully killed in a motor vehicle accident, a Baton Rouge injury lawyer from our law firm can help you get the justice you deserve.