The 18,000 residents of Ennis, Texas are not accustomed to hearing news of serious highway accidents. It came as something of a surprise this month when two separate bus accidents that occurred days apart from one another in the small town, left one person dead and others injured. On April 15, a school bus collided with a pickup truck, killing one person and injuring three students. Less than a week later, an Ennis bus accident sent 10 passengers to area hospitals. Find out more about these accidents below.
Seniors Injured in Ennis Bus Accident
April 21, 2016
A bus loaded with a senior ministry group from St. Michael and All Angels congregations crashed on Thursday morning after failing to clear a railroad track trestle. The crash happened on the westbound side of Baylor Street in Ennis.
According to the Ennis Daily News, the top of the charter bus struck the railroad track bridge support girder, which caused serious damage to the bus. The crash sent an estimated eight to 10 passengers to area hospitals for treatment and observation. Most of those hospitalized were considered walking wounded. None of the reported injuries are thought to be life-threatening, according to Ennis Fire Marshal Chad Wester. As of Friday afternoon, only three of the injured remained hospitalized.
The accident appears to have caused damage to the train trestle. Railroad officials were at the scene of the crash to make sure the structural integrity of the bridge and tracks were still sound. There was no train traffic in the area at the time of the crash.
The tour bus was in Ennis for the Bluebonnet Trails, a popular sightseeing destination. An investigation into the Ennis bus accident is ongoing.
School Bus Collides With Pickup Truck on Highway 34 in Ennis
April 15, 2016
A school bus crashed into a pickup truck early Friday morning in Ennis, killing a motorist and injuring three students. The accident occurred at around 7:30 a.m. on the eastbound side of Highway 34 between Novy Road and Interstate 34.
Local law enforcement officials said foggy weather was likely a factor in the Ennis bus accident. Gerardo Flores, 16, and his 15-year-old sister, Klaudia, were two of the three passengers aboard the school bus at the time of the accident. Both sustained injuries.
Flores told Fox 4 News that the school bus driver was trying to figure out if she could go prior to the accident, “but cars would just zoom by,” he said. The school bus driver then asked the students if they could see anything, but no one could. According to Flores, the driver waited for a while then decided she would proceed.
It was then that the school bus smashed into the Ford pickup truck. Emergency responders had to extricate the driver of the Ford, an unidentified male, who was later pronounced dead at an area hospital.
Flores recalled his face hitting the seat in front of him after impact, which pushed back his front teeth. His sister’s tooth was completely ripped from the gum, which required oral surgery to repair.
After the collision, the school bus driver yelled for everyone to get off the bus. As they were getting their bearings, an SUV collided with the bus.
Michelle Byrd, who was driving behind the SUV, narrowly missed the pileup. She told Fox 4 that crashes were happening all around. “No one had much time to react.” In total, there were three other crashes after the initial bus accident. A semi-truck driver was forced to slam on the brakes in order to evade stopped vehicles. Upon doing so, the truck jackknifed and flipped over. Amazingly, no one was injured in any of the subsequent crashes.
At this time, local law enforcement officials are still investigating the cause of the Ennis bus accident. It is premature to say who is at fault for the wreck. Officers urged drivers to use this tragic accident as a reminder to slow down and increase following distances in foggy conditions.
School Bus Accident Statistics
Fatal school bus accidents like this crash in Ennis are rare, according to statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Between 2004 and 2013, U.S. drivers were involved in 340,039 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, only 1,214 (less than one percent) involved a school bus or another vehicle functioning as a school bus transporting children to or from school, field trips, sports, or other related activities.
Regardless of their frequency, school bus accidents are devastating for victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been involved in a school bus accident, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced bus attorney, as you may be entitled to compensation.
The law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman has represented hundreds of bus accident victims over the last 25 years, obtaining justice on their behalf. If you’d like to speak with an attorney about your case, feel free to give us a call today at (855) 948-5098 for a free, no-obligation consultation.