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Bus crash kills 13

Bus crash kills 13

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2008 6:55 pm

By LINDA STEWART BALL Associated Press Writer SHERMAN, Texas (AP) — A charter bus carrying Vietnamese worshippers on a pilgrimage ran off a highway overpass north of Dallas and plunged onto a roadway below early today, killing at least 13 people and sending at least 40 to hospitals. The bus ran off U.S. 75 about 12:45 a.m. and skidded across a guard rail before falling 15 feet and landing on its side. The bus carrying 55 people from Houston to Missouri may have blown a tire, but officials were still investigating the crumpled wreckage littered with luggage, shopping bags and scattered clothing. “There were people deceased from the front of the bus to the back of the bus,” Officer Zachary Flores, one of the first on the scene, told The Dallas Morning News. The bus came to rest on its right side in the northbound lane of an access road. Workers righted the wreckage and loaded it onto a flatbed truck. Police said 12 people died at the scene and another died at a Dallas hospital. At least six more were hospitalized in critical condition. “I saw crushing wounds,” said Fire Chief Jeff Jones, “but there were very few walking wounded.” Police Lt. Steve Ayers said investigators have interviewed the bus driver and he is in stable condition. The accident happened less than a mile from the spot where a trucker crossed the median and killed 10 people five years ago. The injured were rushed by road and air to several hospitals. Northbound traffic on the highway was shut down as ambulances and helicopters used the roadway and median to ferry the injured to hospitals. “Please pray for us,” said Holly Nguyen, 38, a church member who was following behind the bus in a car but didn’t see the wreck. She was anxiously waiting for word on whether her father, who was on the bus, was dead or injured. It was unclear if weather played a role in the accident. A National Weather Service meteorologist said there was some light rain in the area around midnight. Many of those on the bus were from the Vietnamese Martyrs Church of Houston and were on their way to a religious festival in Carthage, Mo. Tinh Trinh, a church member for 20 years, said he was waiting to hear how one of his wife’s friends was doing. “I myself cried this morning when I heard the news,” said Trinh, one of only a few people at the large brick church early today. The Marian Days pilgrimage, which started in the late 1970s in southwest Missouri, attracts thousands of Catholic Vietnamese Americans each year. Many attend a large outdoor mass each day while enjoying entertainment and camping throughout the city at night. The accident was the worst bus wreck in Texas since 23 people died when a bus carrying nursing home residents fleeing from Hurricane Rita was rocked by several explosions after catching fire on a gridlocked highway near Dallas. Sherman is about 65 miles north of Dallas. ——— Associated Press writers Regina L. Burns and Jamie Stengle contributed to this report. Published in The Messenger 8.8.08

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