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Deadly New Mexico Bus Crash Prompts Negligence Claims

A California-based trucking company and one of its drivers were accused of negligence Friday in a pair of lawsuits as investigators sorted through the wreckage from a deadly bus crash on a New Mexico highway. Eight people were killed and 25 injured, including three young children.

Mexico bus crash

The Greyhound bus carrying nearly 50 people was headed west along Interstate 40 on Thursday when a semitrailer going in the opposite direction lost the tread on its left front tire and veered across a median and smashed into the bus, police said.

The front of the bus was mangled, the cab of the semi was flipped and the trailer was on its side as debris was scattered across the highway. Passing motorists stopped to help passengers climb out of the wreckage before authorities arrived.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas called them heroes, saying some pulled ladders from trucks to reach the bus windows.

“For them to stop and get involved is amazing. I commend them,” the chief said. “To get ladders, to get into the bus to get people. Can you imagine?”

Investigators with National Transportation Safety Board have secured the vehicles for inspection and examined the crash scene Friday. They also will be looking at factors such as driver fatigue, training, safety records and the condition of the roadway.

A woman who answered the phone at the company’s office said no one was available to comment.

The plaintiffs are not named but one is from Arizona and the other is from Ohio.

The driver of the semi, a 35 year-old man licensed out of California, sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities did not name him, saying he was not currently facing charges. The truck did however need to be transported to a commercial truck repair facility.

Officials at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque said nine patients remain hospitalized there, including three adults who are in intensive care, one of whom is in critical condition. Two infants are also in intensive care.

Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker said in a statement Friday that the company was cooperating with authorities and will also conduct an investigation of its own.

“Tragically, a number of people have lost their lives, including our driver, who had 27 years’ experience with Greyhound. Our hearts are with all those affected by this incident,” she said.

Authorities identified the bus driver as Luis Alvarez, 49, of Santa Teresa, New Mexico.

A pile of debris remained on the shoulder of the highway Friday, but transportation crews had yet to clear it because it contained evidence and belongings from the bus passengers.

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