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The operator of a Quickway Transportation truck that left a northbound Interstate lane Sept. 27 and entered the southbound Interstate lane and subsequently collided with a bus — killing four college-age women — did not brake or perform any evasive maneuvers, according to preliminary work done by the National Transportation Safety Board.
NTSB Board Member Robert Sumwalt said in a press conference this weekend that northbound lane of I-35 near Davis, Okla., where the crash occurred, curved slightly to the right, but the truck driven by driver Russell Staley, 53, did not continue with the curve, Sumwalt said.
Instead, the truck and trailer went into the median at a shallow angle before entering the I-35 southbound lane. It traveled through the median for about 900 feet, Sumwalt said, before hitting the bus and then continuing off the road until hitting trees.
The trucks brakes appeared to have no problems upon post-crash inspection, Sumwalt said.
The bus was carrying the North Central Texas College softball team, and four of them died.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Staley told authorities he was distracted, though Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Ronnie Hampton said investigators are looking into Staley’s story. No charges have been brought against the truck operator, however.
NTSB is continuing to investigate the crash, as is the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.