NTSB: damaged guardrail the cause for 2015 deadly prison bus cra - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

NTSB: damaged guardrail the cause for 2015 deadly prison bus crash

Penwell damaged guardrail (Source: KWES). Penwell damaged guardrail (Source: KWES).
ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) -

Crosses are the only signs left of the horrific Penwell prison bus crash. January 14, 2015 is a day many remember. A bus transporting prisoners from Abilene to El Paso crashed on I-20 and fell 20 feet off a bridge.

10 people were killed and another 5 were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated for more than a year.

"It's almost in a way, four accidents that happened with regards to the prison bus. It hits the guard rail first, then it leaves the roadway. It gets airborne and hits the ground after hitting the roadway and then gets hit by a train and then hits a bridge pillar," said Rob Molly, director of NTSB Office of Highway Safety.

The reports says the guardrail the bus hit had been struck at least 3 times in the 28 hours before the crash. 

NTSB's investigation revealed the integrity of the guardrail had been compromised and could not proviced its intended safety function.

Another factor leading to the crash, ice on the roads. On January 13 and 14, TxDOT treated the road for the expected freezing rain.

"They were using a new solution, kind of a mix to treat the ice and they weren't using it at a level that really accounted for the environmental conditions, how much rain, so it was diluting faster than it should. It wasn't able to treat the road effectively," said Molly.

The ineffective treatment of the road, NTSB says, caused accidents in the eastbound lanes prior to the deadly crash, damaging the guardrail

TxDOT says, "safety of the public on Texas highways is the utmost concern and responsibility at TxDOT. We worked directly with NTSB on the investigation of this incident and we are currently reviewing the NTSB report."

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