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NTSB Likely to Look into Poor Communications and Inadequate Maintenance of Passenger & Repair Trains that Crashed in Arkansas

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on the scene of the crash of two trains in Arkansas that has left at least five people in critical condition.   It has been reported that a passenger train operated by the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad as an historic excursion tour from Springdale to Van Buren, Arkansas broke down during its tour and a second repair train came looking for the broken down train in an effort to help fix the problem.   The area of track in which it was operating was one that was in a "dark" area, meaning that the track is not remotely controlled by signals or automated switches and train sensing devices, and thus the location of trains operating on the track is not discernable via sensed systems.  The "rescue" repair train reportedly came around a corner too fast to stop and slammed into the stalled passenger excursion tour train head-on, injuring about 36 of the 44 passengers and sending at least five to the hospital with critical injuries.   The NTSB will likely be getting event recorders from the two trains, electronic data recording devices similar to black boxes on aircraft, which would be analyzed at its Washington, D.C. headquarters by the weekend, as well as radio communications records, so some early train motion and crew action data may be made available by that government agency soon.   The NTSB go-to team, headed by railroad investigator-in-charge Jim Southworth and Board Member Mark Rosekind, will likely be looking into the communications between the two trains, human factors issues such as fatigue and sleep history, any train position locating equipment and the speed policies for the corner area of track that the trains were traveling on, the reasons that this area of track was still "dark" and without the protective features of modern controlled track, as well as maintenance records and practices that may have led to the initial breakdown of the tour train, said Kevin P. Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices who has handled a number of railroad crash cases throughout the country and is experienced in this area of liability.   For further information or to speak to Kevin Durkin, partner at Clifford Law Offices, please contact Clifford Law Offices' Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909.

Latest Update: Passengers Involved in Megabus Accident Arrive In Chicago

After more than 15 hours after at least 18 people were injured in Megabus overturning near Indianapolis on northbound I-65, passengers arrived in Chicago, according to ABC 7 Chicago. Indiana State Police reported to the press that the accident resulted when the bus driver swerved to avoid a disabled car on the wet road, causing the double-decker topple over, ABC 7 Chicago reported. According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Rich Myers, the events were as follows: "[The car] was stopped there, and the bus came along and clipped him in the rear end, causing a pinball effect. The car goes to the right-hand side into the ditch, and the bus goes off to the median where it strikes the cable barriers and overturns," according to the IndyStar newspaper. Upon arriving in Chicago, one passenger described the aftermath of the incident as "total panic and chaos," while another, when asked if he would ever ride a Megabus again, responded, "Hell, no! Never again," ABC 7 Chicago reported. Unfortunately, this accident was one in a chain of major incidents involving Megabus coach buses as federal records obtained by the ABC investigative team revealed 15 similar crashes across the country in the past two years, ABC 7 Chicago reported. Attorneys at Clifford Law Offices represent four people who were injured in an Aug. 2, 2012 Megabus accident on I-55 in Illinois when a left tire blew out, causing the bus to veer off the road and enter the media where it struck a guardrail and then a concrete bridge structure.  One person died in that terrible tragedy and several others were injured.

Update: Chicago Bound Megabus Accident Leaves 18 Injured

After a double-decker Megabus flipped over outside of Indianapolis early Tuesday morning, at least 18 passengers have been taken to nearby hospitals for treatment, according to NBC Chicago. Thirty-five additional passengers were taken to hospitals but almost immediately released, NBC Chicago reported. According to Coach USA North America, the line's parent company, the bus crashed at around 4:30 a.m. while traveling on a route beginning in Atlanta and ending in Chicago, NBC Chicago reported.   The Indiana State Police reported that the accident stemmed from the driver of the Megabus attempting to swerve to avoid an accident on the road that occurred approximately 10 minutes earlier, according to NBC Chicago. The roadway was also reported already in a slick condition stemming from overnight rain that continued into the early morning, according to ABC 7 Chicago. An emergency respondent alleged that a median barrier prevented more serious injuries, as it prevented the bus from leaving the northbound lane and entering oncoming southbound traffic, according to NBC Chicago.

At Least 14 Injured In Chicago-Bound Megabus Accident

Police authorities have divulged that at least 14 people were injured when a Megabus traveling from Atlanta to Chicago flipped over and off of the road traveling northbound on I-65 in the vicinity of Indianapolis, ABC 7 Chicago reported. The number of injured has been reported as high as 26, according to Fox News Chicago. Indiana State police reported that the bus overturned while possibly swerving to avoid another crash just before 5 a.m. this morning, according to ABC 7 Chicago. Weather was most-likely a factor in the accident, Fox New Chicago reported. The bus was carrying 56 passengers, who were all taken to four different hospitals in the Indianapolis area, Fox News Chicago reported. 20-25 of the passengers are described as having "minor injuries", while 6-8 passengers are in serious condition, according to Fox News Chicago. At least one passenger is in critical condition after possibly being partially pinned beneath the bus, Fox News reported. A passenger on the bus who talked to reporters alleged that the Megabus collided with a truck before being forced off of the road, according to ABC 7 Chicago. The accident shut down lanes in both directions on I-65, but by 6 a.m. crews had cleared the scene enough for traffic to proceed, ABC 7 Chicago reported.

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