Softball Team Fatally Injured by Careless Trucker
Four people are dead and a dozen more are injured after a semi tractor-trailer collided with a bus carrying the women’s softball team from a Texas community college. According to investigators, it appears that the truck driver made no attempt to avoid the fatal collision.
The truck, being driven northbound on Interstate 35 near Davis, Oklahoma, rather than following the curve of the road, the driver continued straight. The commercial vehicle continued off of the road for 820 feet, through a median and struck the southbound charter bus that was carrying 15 members of the North Central Texas Community College softball team. The bus was being driven by their coach.
Even after striking the charter bus, the semi-tractor trailer continued an additional 300 feet, and continued toward trees, uprooting several of them.
According to Sumwalt, the trajectory from the accident to the trees was a straight line.
It is uncertain whether the driver of the truck was asleep at the wheel, suffered a medical issue, mechanical failure, or was distracted at the time of the crash.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol are continuing their criminal investigation. Investigators say that the truck driver, Russell Staley, 53, of Saginaw, Texas did admit to investigators that he had been distracted at the time of the accident. Officials declined to disclose what the distraction might have been; stating only that the distraction was something in the cabin. Staley has not yet been charged and investigators may or may not agree with Staley’s explanation about the accident.
A dozen people were reported as having been injured in the crash. Currently all have been released except two who remain at the Oklahoma University Medical Center. They have both been upgraded from critical to stable condition.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has identified the four players who were killed in the crash as Meagan Richardson, 19, Brooke Deckard, 20, Katelynn Woodlee, 18, and Jaiden Pelton 20.
The team was returning from a scrimmage against Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.
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