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4 killed, dozens hurt after train smashes into tour bus

Maryland residents may have heard about the charter motor coach that was hit by a CSX train in Mississippi. The incident took place on March 7 and left four passengers dead and roughly 40 others injured.

According to reports, the accident occurred as a charter bus, which was carrying mostly elderly tourists from Texas, became stuck as it attempted to drive over train tracks at a crossing in Biloxi. Five minutes later, as some of the passengers were exiting the bus, a CXS train traveling 19 mph collided with the bus, pushing it down the tracks for nearly 200 feet and sending frightened passengers in all directions. Although those operating the train first saw the bus approximately 510 feet away and applied the emergency brakes, they were unable to stop the train in time. The report noted that the train was originally traveling 26 mph, which was about 20 mph lower than the track's speed limit.

An eyewitness said that the body parts of accident victims were scattered throughout the crash scene. First responders worked about an hour to free passengers from the mangled bus and used equipment to cut out two of the victims. Those who died included an 82-year-old man and his 73-year-old wife, a 62-year-old woman, and a 79-year old man. The passengers were on a seven-day trip to Mississippi's casinos. The event was arranged by a Texas senior citizens' center. Since 1976, there have been at least 17 collisions between trains and vehicles at the same crossing, and investigators think the crossing's steep grade may be to blame for the accident.

In a case like this, there may be more than one party that should bear responsibility for the fatal accident. An attorney representing the surviving family members of a decedent will look to see if the train should have been able to stop in time, or if the city should bear some degree of fault for the poor design of the crossing.

Source: ABC News, "Passenger says 'train just kept coming' toward bus on tracks", Kevin McGill, March 8, 2017

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