At least 10 people were killed and five were injured Wednesday when a prison bus skidded off an icy overpass in West Texas and collided with a passing train, officials said.
Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson said the bus careened off an Interstate 20 overpass and landed on train tracks west of Odessa. A freight train then struck the bus, he said.
“It was bad, real bad,” Donaldson said.
Two correctional officers, Christopher Davis, 53, and Eligio Garcia, 45, were killed in the crash, along with eight inmates: Bryon Wilson, 34; Tyler Townsend, 29; Jesus Reyna, 44; Kaleb Wise, 22; Adolfo Ruiz, 32; Michael Stewart, 25; Angel Vasquez, 31; and Jeremiah Rodriguez, 35.
Correctional Officer Jason Self, 38, was in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock. Two inmates, Remigio Pineda, 34, and Hector Rivera, 37, were in serious condition, and two others, Terry Johnson, 22, and Damien Rodriguez, 22, were in critical condition. All four were at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
The bus was traveling from the Middleton Unit in Abilene to the Sanchez Unit in El Paso when the accident occurred about 7:30 a.m., state prison officials said. The inmates were handcuffed together in pairs.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that it was sending a team of inspectors.
Images from the scene showed that the white prison bus, crumpled with heavy damage to its top and undercarriage, came to rest on its side.
“It's with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of those killed and injured this morning in a tragic accident,” said Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “Their loved ones will be in our thoughts and prayers.”
The Union Pacific freight train was traveling from Los Angeles to Marion, Ark., with 58 cars and four locomotives, said Mark Davis, a railroad spokesman. Two employees who were on the train were not injured, he said.
Carrying parcels and packages, the train remained at the accident site while the investigation was being carried out. The railroad will be sending investigators to inspect the damage and the track, Davis said.
When news of the crash arrived in Austin, the Texas House had a moment of silence. Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott expressed his condolences.
“My deepest sympathies go out to all who were impacted by the tragic Texas Department of Criminal Justice bus accident in Ector County today,” Abbott said. “Cecilia and I are praying for solace for the families of those whose lives were lost and for a full recovery for those who sustained injuries.”
In June, an inmate was killed and several other people injured when a Department of Criminal Justice van collided with a car in central Texas.
Times staff writer Kurtis Lee contributed to this report.