During a journey from Denver to El Paso, a bus carrying dozens of people crashed and flipped on its side on Interstate 25 near Bernalillo, killing at least three people and injuring 24, according to a Sandoval County Sheriff's Office press release.
The press release stated that initial findings have indicated that the bus crash was part of a series of accidents that occurred around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. The first accident involved a truck rear-ending a car while heading southbound on I-25. The truck’s driver was ejected while the truck continued moving into oncoming traffic.
The bus attempted to swerve around the car which was “disabled” and sitting in the left southbound lane. As a result, the bus lost control and rolled onto its side. The bus crashed through the barrier cable and came to a stop laying across both northbound lanes.
A northbound semi-truck attempted a similar maneuver in order to avoid the bus. It too crashed through the barrier cable, and blocked both southbound lanes.
The first call to authorities was made at 2:18 a.m. Lt. Keith Elder of the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office first arrived on the scene at 9:30 a.m. He said the scene was completely unique to any he had worked on in his nearly 35 years of law enforcement.
“The severity of the crash is probably the worst I’ve seen in my law enforcement career,” Elder said during an interview with the Daily Lobo.
The interstate remained closed for over 12 hours as crews cleaned up the crash site, which included multiple vehicles and extended to both sides of the freeway.
As of the publication of this article, 16 patients have been taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, with four in critical condition, according to Luke Frank, the media relations manager for UNMH.
Frank said that injuries range from lacerations and broken bones to head injuries and internal injuries. He said there were no burn victims as a result of the crash.
He added that UNMH prepares for “mass casualty incidents” by conducting drills and mock exercises that ready the employees for such situations.
The bus belonged to El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine, Inc., a traveling bus company based out of El Paso, Texas similar to Greyhound.
Jerry Rosenbaum, a spokesperson for the bus company, said in an interview with the Daily Lobo that the company only hires experienced drivers and that this was not a preventable accident.
The investigation is still ongoing.
Kyle Land is the Editor-in-Chief at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kyleoftheland.