Little more than a month after a bus crash on I-25 resulted in fatalities for three passengers, a tragic greyhound bus vs. semi accident in northern New Mexico has occurred. This most recent bus crash happened on I-40, near the small town of Thoreau, resulting in eight deaths and dozens more injured, some in critical condition. It appears that a front tire blew on the semi-truck, causing it to cross the median and strike the front of the Greyhound bus. The bus was coming from Albuquerque, on its way to Phoenix. Those who witnessed the aftermath of the accident called it “chaotic,” and “horrific”, with one witness saying people on the bus were attempting to climb out broken windows as rescue crews worked to free them. Another witness claimed she heard screaming and moaning from inside the bus, as several bystanders assisted with ladders.
While the driver of the semi-truck received non-life-threatening injuries, the bus passengers were not so lucky. At least thirty-seven of the injured passengers were taken to a Gallup Indian Health Services Hospital. Six of those were deemed to be too badly injured for the hospital staff to treat, and were subsequently transported to Albuquerque’s University of New Mexico Hospital. There are several passengers who are still believed to be in critical condition.
On September 2nd, the names of five of the eight deceased victims were released by the authorities: Charla Bale, age 34, Terry Mason, age 45, Veronica Jean Williams, age 49, Sadie Thomas, age 50, and Luis Alvarez, the driver of the Greyhound bus, age 50.
New information about the driver of the tractor-trailer, 35-year-old Elisara Taito, was recently released confirming that he is a convicted felon. According to court records, Taito has an extensive criminal history that includes bank robbery and drug possession convictions. Taito’s employer, Jag Transportation, has yet to release a statement regarding his criminal record, but according to United States Department of Transportation rules, criminal history is not required to be taken into consideration when hiring, only the driving record of the potential employee.
The Westbound lanes of I-40 near Thoreau, near mile marker 50 were shut down after the crash, but since that time both eastbound lanes have been opened, and one westbound lane is open.The scene of the accident is currently under investigation by the New Mexico State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau, the New Mexico State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit, and the National Transportation Safety Board. While Taito claims he was not under the influence at the time of the crash, his existing criminal record will most certainly be cause for greater scrutiny in the investigation.
A number has been established for family members of bus passengers to call to ascertain the status of their loved ones, which is (505) 722-4246. Members of the media have been asked not to call this number.
Contact Our Greyhound Bus Accident Attorneys Today
Personal injury attorney, Greg Gold, is from a native New Mexico family that established a museum in the 1800’s, at the last stop on the Santa Fe Trial. We here at the Gold Law Firm are deeply saddened to hear of this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
For decades, the accident attorneys at the Gold Law Firm have been working to protect injured bus passengers. As a premier law firm, with multiple award winning verdicts to our name, including the largest premises liability verdict in the country, we have the experience and resources needed to tackle these large and complex cases. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bus accident, contact Gregory A. Gold of the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation at (303) 694-4653. Our attorneys are available to meet with you within 24 hours at your home.