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Deadly Dallas Bus Crash Aftermath: Investigation Focuses on Mechanical Problems, Design Flaws, Driver Error

As National Transportation Safety Board investigators begin sifting through the wreckage in Irving, Texas, following a multi-fatality accident involving a Cardinal Coach Line Inc. charter, circumstances of the tragedy are reminiscent of a 2005 crash of a charter bus near Dallas that killed 23 elderly passengers fleeing from Hurricane Rita.

According to witness accounts and initial investigation reports, two passengers were killed and 41 were hospitalized Thursday morning when the Cardinal Coach charter bus lost control on northbound Highway 161 near Beltline Road in Irving shortly after 9 a.m. The bus first struck a plastic-barrel traffic barrier on the road’s right-hand shoulder before skidding across the northbound lanes and colliding with the concrete median. Witnesses reported that the bus was en route to an Oklahoma casino. According to early accounts from witnesses, a loud pop was heard shortly before the bus lost control, indicating a potential tire blowout.

Because this was a one-vehicle wreck, says Dallas lawyer Frank L. Branson, investigators will be looking at mechanical failures, driver error or product design flaws as likely contributing factors.

Mr. Branson and the legal team at The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson have extensive experience investigating catastrophic commercial vehicle crashes, including 18-wheeler crashes. The firm was part of the legal team representing families of several victims killed in the 2005 crash of a charter bus carrying elderly nursing home residents out of Hurricane Rita’s path. In that case, an extensive investigation revealed numerous safety, maintenance and design problems that contributed to the tragedy. Mr. Branson and other attorneys negotiated an $80 million settlement on behalf of the victims’ families.

“It’s crucial in cases like these to thoroughly investigate the wreckage to determine exactly how it happened and how bus operators can improve passenger safety,” Mr. Branson says.

In the video below by KTVT CBS Ch. 11 in Dallas, reporter Bud Gillett details the complicated ownership structure of a bus involved in the 2005 crash of a charter bus carrying elderly nursing home residents out of Hurricane Rita’s path.

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