A Houston bus company was indicted on federal charges five years after a bus accident. The bus accident occurred in 2008 when 55 members of the Houston’s Vietnamese Catholic community were traveling to a religious conclave in Missouri in a bus that belonged to the Angel Tours bus company. The bus drove over a highway bridge in the middle of the night. The devastating accident killed 17 people.
The National Transportation Safety Board found that a punctured retreaded tire on the right front axle caused the accident. The Board stated that the tire was illegally attached to the front axle. Angel Tours was also not permitted to leave the state and an unauthorized company inspected the bus prior to the trip..
The indictment also states that the bus company owner and his associate made false statements on government documents and operated a commercial motor vehicle after it received an unsatisfactory rating and was not allowed to be on the road. Each false statement charge could lead to up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The operation charge could carry up to one year in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Families who lost loved ones are happy to see that someone is finally being held responsible for the tragic accident, but cannot believe that it took five years for this to happen. The hope is that accidents like these will draw attention to bus safety and ensure that the vehicles meet federal and state regulations in the future. If bus companies do not behave negligently, most unfortunate accidents like these can be prevented.
Source: Insurance Journal, “Bus Company Owner Faces Charges from Fatal 2008 Texas Crash,” Danny Robbins, June 21, 2013