A Houston bus accident caused the death of two students who were on their way to Furr High School on Tuesday morning. According to a posted update by ABC 13, a 17-year-old girl died at the scene and a 14-year-old died at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
The identities of the two victims killed haven’t been released, but Houston Independent School District officials say both were African-American.
Two other students were seriously injured in the Houston bus accident – a male and a female. The driver was also severely injured. Although their conditions haven’t been released, Houston police say their injuries are non-life threatening. They were taken to different area hospitals.
The school bus tragedy happened after it careened off the 610 South Loop at Telephone Road. Police say a another driver struck the bus, which forced it off the road.
Furr High School is also known as REACH Charter High School, which is a dropout recovery school. The 17-year-old was a student of REACH and the 14-year-old was a freshman at Furr, Click2Houston reports.
As the report states, the Houston bus accident occurred when a Buick LaSabre was traveling on the left side of the bus, but the driver erroneously thought another vehicle was entering her lane. She reacted by swerving and striking the driver’s side of the school bus. The bus driver over-corrected after the hit, which made the bus flip over the guardrail and land on Telephone Road underneath. The driver of the Buick is detained and being interviewed by authorities, but no charges have been filed. HISD says that the driver of the Buick is an HISD teacher.
Freeway lanes were reopened just before 11:30 a.m. after being shut down for several hours while investigators were on the scene.
The bus driver, Louisa Pacheco, had driven for HISD for about three years and reportedly has a “clean driving record.” The school bus’ last maintenance inspection was in June.
It was a new model purchased in 2008 that had lap belts for students. The vehicle was equipped with seven security cameras, which is being reviewed as part of the investigation.
As for the seat belts, it’s unclear if the four students aboard the bus were wearing them at the time of the accident. Nathan Graf, the HISD transportation general manager, says that an estimated “40 or 50 percent of HISD school buses have lap belts. HISD operates a little more than 1,000 buses daily. Lap belts are optional to wear. Lap belts are optional because it’s difficult for bus drivers to enforce.”
Until more is known in the Houston bus accident, identities of the victims won’t be released.
[Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot]