Probe into deadly bus crash continues

August 11, 2008 5:26:25 PM PDT
The company that owns the charter bus that crashed on Friday is now closed down as federal investigators look into what caused the accident. Seventeen church members were killed and dozens of others hurt. And now, we are learning new details about other problems for the bus company. Law enforcement in Missouri stopped an Iguala BusMex bus and took it out of service yesterday in the Joplin-Carthage area. That's in the southwest part of the state. This comes as federal investigators finally make contact with the owner of the bus company.

The gates at Iguala Bus, Ltd. in southeast Houston are locked. The office there is closed. A handwritten sign taped to the building in both English and Spanish says so.

While Angel de la Torre, the owner of the company, is nowhere to be found, federal investigators spoke to him Monday. While Angel Tours has a $5 million insurance policy, the minimum standard for insurance on a charter bus, Iguala BusMex does not.

"This is going to be a legal issue case," said KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy. "There's no question the families will be entitled to $5 million for their injuries and the death of their loved ones. The only question is who is paying for it? Is he paying for it? Or is it the insurance company for the other company paying for it?"

In the meantime, federal investigators are set to examine the bus data recorder, similar to the black box on an airplane. The contents will give them information crucial to their investigation, like how fast the bus was going at the time of the crash and whether the driver had his foot on the accelerator or the brakes during impact.

The bus driver remains in critical condition at a hospital in Sherman. Investigators have not yet been able to speak with him. On Wednesday, lawmakers in Austin plan to meet with bus safety advocates to talk about reform in an effort to prevent future tragedies.

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