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Accident Report Detail

 
Passenger Vehicle/School Bus Collision and Roadway Departure

Executive Summary

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, about 7:03 a.m. local time, a 47-passenger 2009 International school bus, operated by the Houston Independent School District (HISD) and occupied by a 44-year-old female driver and four HISD students aged 14 to 17, was traveling eastbound on South Loop East Freeway (I-610) in lane 3 of the four-lane limited access highway at an estimated speed of 55 mph. The school bus had entered eastbound I-610 at South Wayside Drive and was en route to Furr High School. After traveling approximately 1 mile on eastbound I-610, the school bus approached the overpass above Telephone Road. About the same time, a 2004 Buick LeSabre passenger vehicle, driven by a 29 year-old female, was traveling eastbound in lane 2 on I-610 at an estimated speed of 69 mph. As the Buick overtook the school bus, it departed lane 2 to the right and collided with the school bus in lane 3. The Buick struck the school bus near the bus’s left front wheel. The school bus moved to the right, departed lane 3, traversed lane 4 and the right shoulder, and struck the bridge rail at an approximate 28 degree angle. The bus overrode the concrete portion of the bridge rail and breached the metal railing along the top of the concrete parapet, leaving an approximately 3 foot long opening in the metal rail, before falling approximately 21 feet onto Telephone Road. The bus came to rest on its left side facing westward on the east side of Telephone Road. The Buick came to rest on the right shoulder of I-610 beyond the overpass.

As a result of the crash, two student passengers on the bus died, and the remaining two students received serious injuries. The driver of the HISD school bus received serious injuries. The driver of the Buick was not injured.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Houston, Texas, crash was the Buick LeSabre driver’s intrusion into a lane occupied by a Houston Independent School District school bus. Contributing to the severity of the crash was the failure of the bridge railing to redirect the school bus because the dynamics of the collision exceeded the design capabilities of the railing.


Accident Location: Houston , TX    
Accident Date: 9/15/2015
Accident ID: HWY15FH010

Date Adopted: 7/20/2016
NTSB Number: HAB-16-05
NTIS Number:  

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