At least four people were killed when a train crashed into a charter bus in Biloxi, Mississippi on March 7, 2017. Three of the victims died at the accident scene while a fourth passed away while receiving treatment at the hospital. In addition, at least 35 passengers on the bus were either taken by ambulance or airlifted to local hospitals to be treated for various injuries, and many of the victims remain in critical condition. Per one report, every passenger on the bus sustained at least some type of injury.
The bus was a charter bus carrying around 50 people from Austin, Texas to casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi. Most of the passengers on board were senior citizens. The accident occurred around 2:15 p.m. when the bus was either stopped or stuck on train tracks and got hit by a CSX Transportation freight train. The impact between the two vehicles was so severe that the train pushed the bus approximately 300 feet before coming to a stop. Per one witness, the bus had been stopped on the train tracks for several minutes before it was hit. When they saw the train approaching, passengers tried to get off the bus, recognizing the bus was not going to move and the train was not going to be able to stop in time. Some of the injured passengers had to be cut out of the bus in order to be rescued.
Biloxi police and paramedics immediately responded to the scene to investigate and assist the injured bus passengers. Police Chief John Miller described the aftermath as “terrible” and “chaotic.” Witnesses also described the accident in detail. One witness heard the train honk its horn at the bus to move out of the way before the crash. The witness then saw bodies flying all over the bus once it was hit.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation as police gather more information and speak with victims and witnesses. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration also plan to conduct independent investigations into exactly what happened and why. Federal regulatory agencies regularly investigate fatal, complicated, and/or newsworthy accidents to identify causes of the accident, compare it to trends in the industry, and offer suggestions as to how to prevent them from happening in the future.
Records show that several other train accidents have occurred at this exact train crossing in Biloxi. For example, in 2014, a train crashed into a truck that was stuck on the tracks. Earlier in 2017, a Pepsi delivery driver jumped out of his truck when the truck was stuck in the train’s direction.
It is possible that both vehicles involved in this train crash may bear some responsibility for what happened, making it vital to contact witnesses and look into all possible legal theories and avenues of recovery. It is also likely that the bus company, Echo Transportation, and train company, CSX Transportation, will point the finger at each other as to the cause of the train crash. A spokesperson for CSX is already pointing out how the train crossing had flashing lights and crossing gates.
In complex train or bus accident cases where large corporations are blaming each other to avoid responsibility for the victims’ injuries, accident reconstruction experts may be retained. These expert witnesses may examine the accident scene, analyze skid marks and evidence gathered at the scene, and reconstruct the accident. This can be used to prove liability and help injured parties recover for their damages, which could include serious injuries. An experienced Mississippi train accident attorney understands how to handle accident cases with complex legal issues. To discuss your case with a Mississippi lawyer familiar with laws regarding bus drivers and train operators, call Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-529-4004 today.