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10 dead when Texas prison bus skids off highway, hits train

January 15, 2015

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — A prison bus skidded off an icy Texas highway, slid down an embankment and collided with a passing freight train Wednesday, killing eight inmates and two corrections officers, including the bus driver, authorities said.

The overpass on an interstate highway was slick with ice Wednesday morning when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice bus left the roadway, just west of Odessa, according to Sheriff Mark Donaldson.

The prisoners, who did not have seat belts, were handcuffed together in pairs, officials said. Some of them were ejected from the bus after it struck the train, said Trooper Elizabeth Barney of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

An earlier accident on the overpass may have contributed to the prison bus losing control, Donaldson said.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed the 10 deaths in a statement, adding that four prisoners and one corrections officer were also injured.

After the accident around 7:30 a.m., the white bus came to rest on its side, next to the railroad tracks, crumpled with heavy damage to its front and undercarriage. The top of the bus was caved inward.

The Union Pacific freight train with four locomotives and 58 cars came to a stop soon after. None of the cars derailed, but two containers at the rear of the train were damaged, said Mark Davis, a railroad spokesman.

The containers were carrying hundreds of parcels and packages, many of which were strewn along the tracks.

No Union Pacific employees were injured.

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Warren reported from Dallas. Associated Press writers Terry Wallace and Diana Heidgerd in Dallas also contributed to this report.

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