JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ A bus smashed into four houses in Indonesia's Central Java province early Monday, killing 26 people and injuring 31, Antara state news agency reported.

The bus caught fire after hitting the homes and a metal drum filled with kerosene in the town of Kendal, 250 miles east of Jakarta. All the dead were passengers on the bus.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash and are looking for the driver, who fled after the accident.

Indonesia's roads have deteriorated in recent years, since the country's worst economic crisis in a generation forced the government to cut its road maintenance budget.

Many bus companies have also tried to maximize profits by cutting back on maintenance and packing vehicles with passengers.

Both factors have led to a long string of traffic accidents with high death tolls in recent months.