A bus owned by Autobuses Lucano of Dallas Texas, traveling from San Luis Patosi, SLP to Houston Texas crashed 35 miles south of Nuevo Laredo Thursday morning, killing 2, including a pregnant 19 year old woman whose body was found under the bus and injuring 10.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Sabinas Hidalgo NL and Cruz Roja in Nuevo Laredo.
Juan Carlos Flores Sanchez, Commandander of Federal Police Highways, reported initial investigation and interviews with passengers suggested the driver fell asleep at the wheel shortly before the bus left the highway and overturned.
The driver left the scene and a warrant was issued with the Nuevo Leon State Police for his arrest and detention.
This morning, it was reported that representatives of Lucano and their insurance carrier appeared before the Agencia Publico Ministerio and accepted full responsibility for the accident and agreed to cover all costs of the victims of the accident.
(How wild is that? A company accepting responsibility and doing the right thing instead of bringing legions of lawyers in to keep it tied in the courts for years.)
As of this morning, the driver still has not been located. Under Mexican law, he will lose his Licencia Federal de Conductor for a minimum of 10 years, although with the loss of life, it will probably be a lifetime suspension. When found, he will be held in a State prison until a Judge reviews the evidence and renders a decision.
On a personal note: I fail to see the logic in some of these drivers disappearing from the scene of major accidents. I understand why they do it as penalties in Mexico are criminal instead of civil as they are in the US, and commercial drivers can expect to be detained if the investigators determine fault to be with them. But logically, the freedom is short lived. The company knows who they are. They have on file, all of their qualifications and information, so locating them is only a matter of time and the disappearance only compounds the problem.
With Lucano, it seems this company has a pattern of accidents involving tired drivers. Without regard to the fact that these types of coaches are equipped for a team operation, with a bunking area on the right side of the bus for the co driver to sleep when not on duty.
Sept. 20, 2002: Several passengers were injured after a bus operated by Dallas-based Autobuses Lucano Inc. and Houston-based Tres Amigos Tours went off the road and hit a tree in Jasper County, Miss., because the driver and replacement driver tried to switch seats while the bus was moving at 70 mph
Oct. 7, 2005: A bus owned and operated by Autobuses Lucano Inc. and Transportes Lucano Inc., two Houston-based companies, was involved in an accident in Mexico, according to court records. Two passengers injured in the accident sued..
And this is not an indictment of all Mexican bus companies. Ones such as ETN and Omnibuses de Mexico in addition to Primera Plus, offer excellent and safe service throughout Mexico. I know. I have been a passenger on them.
Perhaps it is time for the SGT and PFP to take a look at better ways to manage this phenomenon of drivers disappearing from accident scenes or perhaps bystander should get personally involved until authorities arrive.
35 years in the trucking business and living in Mexico for the past 15 years, make me uniquely qualified to offer my insight and opinion into the Mexican trucking industry and other border issues. A contributor to SiriuxXM Road Dog Channel 106 and to the award winning Lockridge Report, Mexico Trucker Online continues to publish the unvarnished truth about the subjects we cover.