MDOT: Not clear if I-269 bridge was treated for ice before deadly tour bus crash

Several bus crash survivors return to Alabama

Some bus crash survivors return to Alabama

DESOTO COUNTY, MS (WMC) - The survivors of the tour bus that crashed and killed two people arrived home Thursday evening in Huntsville, Alabama.

It was an unforgettable 48 hours for everyone on the bus.

An unidentified woman who was on board offered hugs to the passengers as they exited, many coming home different than how they left.

“It spinned once and the second spin it started picking up speed and, what could you do?” said survivor Veronica Love.

Love said the bus flipped, and first responders had to cut a hole in the bus to get passengers out.

Twelve survivors who were well enough to leave area hospitals were taken to their original destination, Fitz Casino in Tunica, where they spent the night.

The bus company sent a replacement bus to pick up the passengers to take them home, arriving back in Huntsville just after 6 p.m. to try to get back to their lives.

Investigators look into cause of bus crash

Mississippi authorities say they don’t know if the interstate was treated for ice before a tour bus crash left two dead and dozens more injured Wednesday.

The Teague VIP Express tour bus was traveling from Huntsville, Alabama to Tunica, Mississippi when investigators say it hit a patch of ice on I-269 in DeSoto County and overturned.

The surviving 44 passengers suffered varying injuries, though most were treated at area hospitals and have since been released.

BUS CRASH SURVIVORS BACK HOME: Survivors of the tour bus crash in DeSoto County return home to Huntsville, AL >>https://bit.ly/2QLkuvL

Posted by WMC Action News 5 on Thursday, November 15, 2018

Survivors left local hospitals Thursday aboard a bus headed back to Alabama as investigators turned their attention to the bus crash.

At least three people were still being treated at Baptist DeSoto on Thursday afternoon.

Mississippi Highway Patrol will now reconstruct the accident to determine what caused the bus to flip on its side as it crossed an icy bridge on I-269 Wednesday.

MDOT: Not clear if I-269 bridge was treated for ice before deadly tour bus crash

MHP Spokesperson Jace Ponder says MDOT crews prepared for Wednesday's storm just like any other, salting bridges and highways.

"On Wednesday crews in DeSoto County began applying salt and slag to the bridges around mid-morning and then at about 11:15, the Marshall County crew was activated,” Ponder said.

But around 12:30 Wednesday, the charter bus traveling southbound from Huntsville, Alabama to Tunica, Mississippi crashed just outside Byhalia.

Ponder said MDOT crews were actively treating the northbound lanes of I-269 at the time but said it's unclear if crews made it to the southbound lane before the crash.

"Since it’s a divided highway they treat one lane at a time, so I don’t know for certain if the southbound lane was treated before the accident, before the bus crash,” Ponder said.

In total, MDOT officials say they had about 23 employees operating 14 trucks Wednesday.

The accident happened on a stretch of I-269 that had only been open for about a year.

Tour bus hauled away after deadly crash

WMC5 was there as patients left Baptist DeSoto Hospital on Thursday aboard a Teague bus headed back to Alabama.

As investigators focused their attention on what caused the crash, personnel at five Mid-South hospitals focused on the survivors, 19 of which were treated at Baptist DeSoto.

Spokesperson Ayoka Pond said their recently expanded emergency room and experienced staff jumped into action as soon as they got the call Wednesday.

"They treat more than 60,000 ER patients a year so they definitely have the capacity to treat patients that come in from bus accidents and other incidents like that,” Pond said.

Victims identified after Tunica-bound tour bus overturns on slick Mississippi highway

MHP said this is the first fatal accident reported on the roadway.

MDOT officials say they’re going to let the Mississippi Highway Patrol complete their investigation, and once the findings are released, they’ll go from there.

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