Legal Investigation Begins on What Led to Bus Crash in MississippiMarch 8, 2017
On March 7, 2017, a charter bus operated by Echo Transportation from Texas carrying 48 people was hit by a CSX train in Biloxi, Mississippi. According to initial reports, the bus was attempting to cross the train tracks and became stuck before it was struck by the train. Seven passengers suffered critical injuries and 41 passengers were transported to hospitals. At least four passengers have died in the wreck. The train’s conductor and engineer reportedly were not injured.
The seniors were members of the Bastrop Senior Center in Texas. The group left Bastrop on Sunday for a weeklong retreat through Mississippi and Louisiana. The passengers had breakfast early Tuesday morning and were scheduled to arrive at a casino in Biloxi at 2:30. However, the bus attempted to cross a steep crossing and stalled on the train tracks. The crossing has warning signs and busses are recommended to find a different crossing. The bus was stuck on the tracks for 5 to 10 minutes before being struck by the train and pushed over 300 feet down the tracks. Eventually, passengers began to get off the bus. Seven passengers were able to get off the bus prior to the incident. Witnesses reported seeing passengers flying out of the bus, going over the top of the bus, and under the bus in this horrific incident.
A charter bus is a classified as a commercial motor vehicle and is subject to federal and state regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations places strict requirements on drivers of commercial vehicles. The federal regulations require a bus transporting passengers to stop within 50 feet of the train tracks, listen and look in each direction, and only proceed when no train is coming. Additionally, the driver must proceed over the train tracks without changing gears. When a vehicle breaks down, the driver is required to place warning devices, such as bidirectional reflective triangles, to warn other drivers. Commercial motor vehicle drivers must be qualified and be able to read warning signs.
Federal and state law imposes very strict regulations on bus drivers in order to protect the public from preventable incidents such as this one. Drivers are to proceed with extreme caution over train tracks and anyone who disregards this or any other federal regulation needlessly puts their passengers and the general public at risk. The Amaro Law Firm handles catastrophic incidents nationwide. We encourage any witnesses with information about the wreck to come forward so that we may share the information with investigating authorities and the legal teams assisting victims. Every bit of information is helpful. Whether you witnessed the wreck, passed by after it occurred or while the wreck was being cleared, or are a relative of the deceased or injured, if you have any information whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us to share that information to make sure it gets to the right people.
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