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Bus crash

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Three people were killed and 40 injured, State Police said, in a three-vehicle I-40 crash east of Forrest City last night that included a loaded charter bus. News release on jump.

UPDATE on the jump.

STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE

THREE DEAD IN BUS CRASH EAST OF FORREST CITY
MORE THAN 40 INJURED, INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

NOVEMBER 26, 2007

(FORREST CITY) - Three individuals were killed last night (Sunday,
November 25th) in a three vehicle crash on Interstate 40 approximately
ten miles east of Forrest City.  Arkansas State Police received the
initial call for help at 10:08 PM.  State Troopers investigating the
crash have been at the scene throughout the night along with dozens of
St. Francis County and other area emergency response crews.

Preliminary investigative reports indicate that a westbound passenger
bus operating as Tornado Bus Lines of Dallas, Texas left the interstate
lanes of traffic, crossed the median and collided with an eastbound
pick-up truck.  A third vehicle, an eastbound tractor-trailer rig, then
collided with the bus.

Danny Okurily, 30, of Hot Springs, the driver of the pick-up truck was
pronounced dead at the scene.  Two others killed in the crash were found
onboard the bus.  Their identities have not been released pending
notification of next of kin.  David Rice, 45, of Mars Hill, North
Carolina, the driver of the tractor-trailer, sustained minor injuries.

A Tornado Bus Line manifest lists 44 passengers and a driver onboard the
bus which originated the trip in Chicago, Illinois and was destined for
Dallas, Texas.  The bus driver has been identified as Felix Tapia, 28,
of Brownsville, Texas.  Tapia, who sustained minor injuries in the
crash, continues to be interviewed by State Troopers who will prepare a
complete investigative report.

State Troopers also continue to meet with dozens of injured from the bus
who were transported from the crash scene by emergency medical crews to
area hospitals in Forrest City, West Memphis and Memphis.

Both east and west lanes of traffic were temporarily halted as emergency
crews moved into the area.  Traffic has been rerouted from Interstate 40
onto U.S. Highway 70 while the investigation and crash scene clean-up
continues.

UPDATE

The following information supersedes the 2:56 AM news release copied below.

Arkansas State Police at this time is releasing the name of a second fatality victim from last night's bus crash east of Forrest City, Arkansas.

Raul Lopez, 58, of East Chicago, Illinois was one of two fatality victims onboard the Tornado bus.

The name of a third fatality victim onboard the bus remains uncertain at this hour.  Upon official confirmation of the victim's name and notification of family the name of the third victim will be released.

The Arkansas State Police does not expect to release any further information today with regard to the crash investigation.

With regard to updated information relating to the number of persons onboard the bus, state troopers can now account of two children who were traveling with their mother, however were not listed on the bus manifest.  This information raises the total number on the bus to 47 (including the driver).

As further information can be released, this e-mail address will be used to make notification.

BILL SADLER - PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
ONE STATE POLICE PLAZA DRIVE
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS   72209
(501) 618-8230

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Sadler
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2007 2:56 AM
To:
Subject: I-40 Forrest City Bus Crash

THREE DEAD IN BUS CRASH EAST OF FORREST CITY
MORE THAN 40 INJURED, INVESTIGATION CONTINUES

NOVEMBER 26, 2007

(FORREST CITY) - Three individuals were killed last night (Sunday, November 25th) in a three vehicle crash on Interstate 40 approximately ten miles east of Forrest City.  Arkansas State Police received the initial call for help at 10:08 PM.  State Troopers investigating the crash have been at the scene throughout the night along with dozens of St. Francis County and other area emergency response crews.

Preliminary investigative reports indicate that a westbound passenger bus operating as Tornado Bus Lines of Dallas, Texas left the interstate lanes of traffic, crossed the median and collided with an eastbound pick-up truck.  A third vehicle, an eastbound tractor-trailer rig, then collided with the bus.

Danny Okurily, 30, of Hot Springs, the driver of the pick-up truck was pronounced dead at the scene.  Two others killed in the crash were found onboard the bus.  Their identities have not been released pending notification of next of kin.  David Rice, 45, of Mars Hill, North Carolina, the driver of the tractor-trailer, sustained minor injuries.

A Tornado Bus Line manifest lists 44 passengers and a driver onboard the bus which originated the trip in Chicago, Illinois and was destined for Dallas, Texas.  The bus driver has been identified as Felix Tapia, 28, of Brownsville, Texas.  Tapia, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, continues to be interviewed by State Troopers who will prepare a complete investigative report.

State Troopers also continue to meet with dozens of injured from the bus who were transported from the crash scene by emergency medical crews to area hospitals in Forrest City, West Memphis and Memphis.

Both east and west lanes of traffic were temporarily halted as emergency crews moved into the area.  Traffic has been rerouted from Interstate 40 onto U.S. Highway 70 while the investigation and crash scene clean-up continues.
-30-

 


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