LAREDO, Texas – Investigators say a bus that crashed this weekend was traveling on a wet road with anti-lock brakes that weren't active at the time of crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board unveiled these revelations during a Tuesday afternoon media briefing. The crash Saturday morning killed eight people and injured 44 when the bus turned 90 degrees and slammed onto its side as it headed toward a casino near Eagle Pass.
After closing down the scene on Highway 83 just south of the Dimmit County line for about seven hours Tuesday, NTSB investigator-in-charge Pete Kotowski said investigators were able to take in a lot of data. They also performed friction tests.
Through the course of the investigation, Kotowski said they've found while there was no rain at the time of the crash, the ground was wet.
Also, the bus had an anti-lock braking system, but it "was not active at the time of the crash." Kotowski said regulations on anti-lock brake systems went into effect after the bus was manufactured.
Kotowski said "the brake system was functioning."
"The purpose of anti-lock brakes is to prevent a wheel from locking and cause a loss of control. This vehicle did not have that capability and the brake applications and the pressures involved are regulated by the driver," Kotowski said.
Investigators have also obtained blood and urine samples from the drier, Porfrio Aguirre Vasquez, and sent them to a lab for analysis.
Vasquez will be interviewed for the first time on Wednesday.
Kotowski said investigators have also met with the bus owners, OGA Charters, and are examining their records.
According to the preliminary information investigators have gathered so far Kotowski said, Vasquez reported for work that day at 3 a.m., about eight hours before the crash.
A spokesman said a preliminary report on the crash could take 10 to 30 days.
A full report could take 12 to 14 months.
In the meantime, legal action has already started. Two injured victims have filed a lawsuit against OGA Charters, and the husband of one of the women killed in the crash has asked a judge to order the company to leave the bus at the tow yard so it can be examined.