A prison bus and train collided near Western Odessa, Texas, on Wednesday, killing at least 10 of the 15 passengers. Local media reported on the grizzly scene and are working frantically to rescue any and all survivors. The Department of Public Safety would not comment on the full extent of the devastation, instead confirming that it was a fatal accident and they are working to determine the actual cause.
Reuters reported that the bus was traveling from Abilene and was on its way to El Paso with a total of twelve inmates and three prison correction officers. They also reported that the prison bus skidded off the highway and into the train, where the bus was thrown and rolled into a field. The accident took place just west of the city of Odessa, Texas. There are no reports of any prisoners escaping the accident at this time.
According to a spokesperson for the Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, there are five patients being treated, which may confirm that all individuals on the bus are accounted for. However, there are no reports of whether anyone on the train was injured. It is still being reported that an unspecified number of people were injured, only confirming that 10 have died and 5 people have been injured, according to the Associated Press.
An ongoing investigation is underway to determine how and why the bus veered into the train. Authorities state that it is too soon in the investigation to guess whether the inmates might have caused a ruckus, attacked the prison officials, if it was due to poor road conditions, or just driver error. At this time, they are focusing on the well being of the survivors and removing those that have died. Further investigations will be conducted when the scene is cleared and safe.
Reports from eye witnesses have stated that the bus flipped off of an icy overpass and hit the train that was traveling below. Those reports have stated that it was purely accidental due to road conditions. As of right now, I-20 is closed at the overpass, as are the train tracks. Witnesses have also stated that the 10 individuals that died include 2 officers and 8 prisoners. Although the information has not been completely confirmed, photos of the accident and current weather conditions seem to coincide with the reports.
Other reports have stated that Medical Center Hospital is under lock down due to the treatment of the inmates.
Further details will be reported as they are released.
[Photo Courtesy: PBS]