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Investigation to take months in fatal bus accident

Driver fatigue is a factor being considered by officials investigating a Texas bus accident. The crash killed a college student and injured more than one dozen others on a school-sponsored trip.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials and state police reported the 24-seat commercial vehicle was fully outfitted with seat belts. Only the driver, a properly licensed 34-year-old member of the college faculty, was wearing a restraining belt on the Friday afternoon of the fatal bus crash. State law does not mandate that bus passengers must wear seat belts.

The rollover accident occurred as the bus was about 200 miles southwest of Dallas on U.S. Highway 83, approximately 65 miles below Abilene. Those on the bus were participants in an annual school trip to the Medina Children’s Home in Kerrville.

Reports say the bus drifted from the main roadway and struck a ditch, reportedly sending the vehicle end-over-end.

The top of the bus ripped away during the rollover, before the vehicle landed back on a highway. One dozen of the 16 people on board were thrown from the vehicle. One 19-year-old female student from Petersburg was killed in the accident. All remaining 15 accident survivors sustained injuries. Two are listed in critical condition.

Police have ruled out speeding as a cause for the crash. Troopers determined the bus had been traveling five miles below the posted 70 mph speed limit. Officials said the accident investigation could take months.

Any charges that would be brought as a result of the bus accident would be presented to a grand jury by the Runnels County prosecutor. Additionally, those injured in the crash and the family of the woman who died may be entitled to seek compensation for the injuries sustained in the crash.

Source: ktxs.com, "ACU Bus Crash: Driver Was Only One Wearing Seat Belt," Merlin Mann, Nov. 8, 2011

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