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Texas Bus Crash Kills 8 Prison Inmates, 2 Corrections Officers

Image: Texas Bus Crash Kills 8 Prison Inmates, 2 Corrections Officers
Authorities investigate the scene of a prison bus crash, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Penwell, Texas. (AP Photo/Odessa American, Mark Sterkel)

By    |   Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 10:47 AM

Ten people were killed and 5 injured when a prison bus transporting inmates skidded down an embankment into a moving Union Pacific train after hitting a patch of ice on Interstate 20 near the west Texas town of Penwell.

Authorities told the Odessa American that 15 people were on the bus and the prisoners were handcuffed in pairs without seat belts as it headed to the Rogelio Sanchez State Jail in El Paso from a transfer unit in Abilene.

"We have had other accidents, but I can tell you nothing like this where we have lost this many officers and offenders," Jason Clark, a department of criminal justice spokesman told the newspaper.

Two corrections officers were killed – Christopher Davis, 53, and Eligio Garcia, 45. The prisoners who died in the accident included Byron Wilson, 34; Tyler Townsend, 29; Jesus Reyna, 44; Kaleb Wise, 22; Adolfo Ruiz, 32; Michael Stewart, 25; Angel Vasquez, 31; and Jeremiah Rodriguez, 35.

The Associated Press reported that Davis had more than 17 years of service with the Department of Criminal Justice while Garcia had nearly 23 years.

Correctional officer Jason Self, 38, and inmates Terry Johnson and Damien Rodriguez, both 22, were hospitalized in critical condition, the AP said. Inmates Remigio Pineda, 34, and Hector Rivera, 37, were in serious condition.

Investigating Highway troopers reported that the transport bus was on the Interstate 20 overpass behind a tractor-trailer when it lost control, hit a guardrail and then drove off the embankment between freeway overpasses where the train was crossing about 7:30 a.m., wrote the newspaper.

"He came down the embankment and literally just flew," Department of Public Safety Trooper Elenena Viramontes, told the Odessa American. Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis told the newspaper the train was traveling from east from Los Angeles to Marion, Arkansas when the bus slammed into it.

The Odessa American stated that the bus hit one of the train's cars, which ripped off the front section and mangled the rest.

"It's as bad as you can imagine," Odessa Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Kavin Tinney, told the newspaper. "In 32 years, it's as bad as anything I've seen."

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Ten people were killed and 5 injured when a prison bus transporting inmates skidded down an embankment into a moving Union Pacific train after hitting a patch of ice on Interstate 20 near the west Texas town of Penwell.
texas, bus, crash, kills, inmates, corrections, officers
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2015-47-15
Thursday, 15 Jan 2015 10:47 AM
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