The information in this report is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.
About 9:05 p.m. central daylight time on Friday, September 26, 2014, a 2013 Peterbilt truck-tractor in combination with a 2014 Great Dane semitrailer was traveling north in the left lane of Interstate 35 (I-35) near Davis, in Murray County, Oklahoma. The driver was a 53-year-old male. Quickway Transportation Inc., of Nashville, Tennessee, was the operator of the combination vehicle, which was hauling an unloaded semitrailer used for transporting dairy products.
At the same time, a 2008 Champion Defender 32-passenger lap-belt equipped medium-size bus on a 2007 Chevrolet C5500 chassis—transporting 15 female members of the North Central Texas College (NCTC) softball team—was traveling south in the right lane of I-35. The bus was owned and operated by the NCTC and was being driven by the team’s 48-year-old male coach. The team was returning to Gainesville, Texas, following a scrimmage in Bethany, Oklahoma.
While in the vicinity of mile marker 47, after negotiating a slight rightward curve, the combination vehicle failed to continue with the northbound lanes of I-35 and departed the left lane, entering the 92-foot-wide depressed earthen median at an approximate 2-degree angle. It continued through the median at an average 2–9-degree angle and a GPS-reported speed of 72–73 mph, traveling over 1,100 feet as it traversed the median. The combination vehicle then entered the southbound lanes of I-35 and collided with the left side of the bus, as the bus moved to the right in an attempt to avoid the collision.
Following the impact, the bus rolled onto its right side and came to rest on the west side of the southbound lanes. The combination vehicle continued though the southbound lanes into a wooded area, traveling nearly 300 additional feet from where it entered the southbound lanes. As a result of the crash, four passengers on the bus were fatally injured—each of whom was either fully or partially ejected during the collision and subsequent rollover. The remaining passengers were transported to area hospitals with minor-to-serious injuries. The driver of the combination vehicle and the driver of the bus sustained minor injuries.
Using three-dimensional (3D) laser scanning technology, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators documented the accident scene and the vehicles (see figures 1 and 2).
NTSB investigators continue to collect information related to the crash in the areas of human performance, survival factors, highway factors, vehicle factors, and motor carrier operations. All aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB looks into the probable cause, with the intent of issuing recommendations to prevent similar crashes.