Colorado Authorities Identify Victims of Deadly I-25 Youth Group Charter Bus Crash
Authorities in Colorado have identified two people tragically killed on Sunday when an Albuquerque, New Mexico-bound charter bus crashed along I-25 South near Pueblo.
Charter Bus Was Returning from Catholic Youth Conference
The June 23rd accident occurred around 2:30 p.m., as a charter bus owned by Follow the Sun, Inc., suddenly veered off the highway at mile-marker 109 and collided with a bridge embankment.
In addition to the driver, 9 teenagers and six adult chaperones were aboard the bus when it crashed. The passengers were members of the Aquinas Newman Center, a Catholic parish located at the University of New Mexico. The group was headed back to Albuquerque after spending the weekend at Steubenville of the Rockies, an annual youth conference in Denver.
Charter Bus Crash Claimed Lives of Driver and Seminarian
The Colorado Highway Patrol confirmed that the bus driver died at the accident scene. The 36-year-old man began working for Follow the Sun about two years ago, and had six years of experience driving commercial buses.
On Monday, authorities identified the second victim as a 56-year-old seminarian with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico. “A humble man who deeply cared for others,” he had been assigned to the Aquinas Newman Center for the summer.
“He always brightened our spirits and had a positive outlook on life,” Archbishop John Wester said in a statement. “We will miss him very, very much. May he rest in peace.”
4 Crash Victims Remain Hospitalized
Paramedics transferred 13 passengers to area hospitals following the accident, including four adults and a teenager who suffered serious injuries.
As of Monday night, one person was still listed in critical condition at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. Three others remained hospitalized at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo.
The remaining passengers suffered minor injuries and were released on Sunday.
Investigators Looking at Bus Driver’s Health
Investigators are interviewing witnesses to Sunday’s youth group charter bus crash, including several with video of the incident.
Although toxicology tests have yet to come back, nothing suggests the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There is some concern, however, that he might have experienced a medical event that contributed to the accident.
A spokesperson for Follow the Sun told local media outlets that the Albuquerque-based company was cooperating with the investigation.
“It is very important that we understand exactly what happened in case there is anything we or the transportation industry as a whole can learn from it,” he said. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of both the driver and the passenger. Our prayers are also with those who were injured.
According to KKTV-11, the youth group charter bus crash was the company’s first fatal accident in at least two years. Records from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association do not show any failed inspections during the same time period.
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