This month’s terrible train and tour bus accident in Biloxi, Mississippi illustrates the skill needed by investigators and attorneys to diligently seek justice.
Last week’s terrible train and tour bus accident in Biloxi, Mississippi illustrates the skill needed by investigators and attorneys to diligently seek justice. Though this commercial accident happened in Mississippi, it could happen in Houston or Texas too.
The bus full of senior citizens on a casino trip got stuck on the tracks and an oncoming train smashed broadside into it, killing four, injuring 35 and shoving the bus hundreds of feet down the track. Emergency responders had to cut some seniors from the mangled bus with the ‘jaws of life’.
A scene of multiple past crashes
As CNN reports, the National Transportation Safety Administration seeks to determine how this could happen…yet again. It seems that this intersection has had three stuck vehicles with two crashes just since 2014, and 16 train-vehicle crashes going back to 1976. The cross street, Esters Boulevard, is named for the city’s first African-American city council member, killed at that same crossing in 1983.
Three other long vehicles have gotten stuck in that intersection in the last three years alone. In two of those cases, a train crashed into the vehicle. That history has caught the National Transportation Safety Board’s attention.
“We’re very interested in factors such as that. What is it about this intersection?” NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said ahead of the panel’s investigation Wednesday.
At issue is the railroad crossing at Main Street — known as a hump crossing because the tracks are on the crest of a slope. A driver at such a crossing goes up an incline, crosses the level tracks and then goes down an incline. This kind of hump can catch the undercarriage of a vehicle or trailer if the vehicle is long enough and the ground touching the front and back tires is low enough.
Sumwalt said that responsibility for the intersection is shared by CSX Railroad and the city government. The city has proposed improvements to other train and street intersections, but despite the accident history, this has not been one of them.
What Was The Bus Driver Thinking?
Another question is why the bus driver crossed the track when signs with a written warning and an illustrated graphic are clearly displayed, showing that large vehicles can get stuck on their undercarriage.
So the task of sorting responsibility is complicated, with investigators looking at CSX and the city of Biloxi regarding conditions that have led to crashes previously, and a bus driver who drove past a warning sign.
A witness shot cell phone video that captures the drama and horror as the train hit the bus:
Experienced, skilled attorneys need in such cases
When tragedy strikes in such complex situations the liability may rest with more than one party. Injured people and families of those who perish may be overwhelmed with the complexity of the case and the companies and government agencies involved.
The Callahan Law Firm in Houston, Texas, has experienced lawyers who can sort out such intricacies to bring you justice. We offer a free case evaluation and representation on “no fee if no recovery for you” terms. Don’t despair, thinking you are helpless. Call either our local or toll free number now.