Prisoner Bus Crash in Texas: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Ten people were killed when a bus carrying prisoners fell off an icy overpass and struck a passing train. The tragic crash happened around 7:30 a.m. January 14 in West Texas. The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that weather was a factor in the crash.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. 8 Prisoners & 2 Officers Are Dead

The Associated Press is reporting that ten people have been killed and five people have been injured. The bus was carrying 12 prisoners and three officers.

Four of the injured are in critical condition, one is in serious condition. The Odessa American reports that 10 prisoners and two officers have been killed. All of the victims are male. In a statement, Brad Livingston, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said:

It’s with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of those killed and injured this morning in a tragic accident. Their loved ones will be in our thoughts and prayers.

You can watch video from the scene above.

2. The Bus Collided With a Union Pacific Freight Train

Emergency Telephone Numbers Keep Railroad Crossings Safe

One of the Union Pacific fleet. (Getty)

Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark confirmed that the bus fell off the overpass, down an embankment and onto some railroad tracks, where a Union Pacific train was passing. CBS 7 reports Union Pacific Media Spokesperson Jeff DeGraff saying that there were no injuries to any crew members on the freight train. DeGraff told the station:

The bus left the roadway on an elevated portion and landed and collided with a Union Pacific train. The UP Train was headed eastbound.

He added that the National Transportation Safety Board hadn’t been in contact with Union Pacific but that was likely to change. The Odessa American reports that a trooper, who was attending to another incident, witnessed the crash.

3. The Crash Happened in Rural West Texas

The bus was traveling from Abilene to El Paso. The crash happened in the town of Penwell, in rural West Texas, close to Odessa, traveling along Interstate 20. Eastbound lanes on that interstate were closed in the aftermath of the accident.

4. The Hospital Where the Victims Are Being Treated Is on Lockdown

News West 9 reports that the Odessa Medical Center is on lockdown as the hospital struggles to deal with patients who were injured in the crash. Four prisoners and one officer are among the injured.

5. The Inmates Were En Route to a Prison for Minor Offenses

The Sanchez Unit in El Paso. (Google Street View)

The Sanchez Unit in El Paso. (Google Street View)

The bus was taking prisoners to the Sanchez Unit in El Paso. That unit holds around 700 inmates, mainly for relatively minor crimes such as burglary, according to the Texas Tribune.

1 Comment

1 Comment


It says the “train” fell off the over pass. It should say the “bus” fell off the over pass.??

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