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Settlement Reached in 2008 Fatal Texas Bus Crash

A number of families received a closure of sorts this past week when an out-of-court settlement was reached with families of 11 of the 17 victims from a 2008 Texas bus crash.

On August 8, 2008, a charter bus carrying 55 passengers went over the side of a highway bridge, near Sherman, Texas. Seventeen passengers were killed in the bus accident, and dozens others were injured. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that the bus crash was one of the worst in U.S. history.

Investigators believe that something punctured a retreaded tire on the front right axle, causing it to blow out, leaving the bus to swerve out of control and over a highway bridge. In its investigation, the NTSB found several violations: the retreaded tire on the front axle was illegally installed, the charter bus operator was not licensed to leave the state of Texas, and the inspection company was not properly equipped to determine whether the bus was "road-worthy."

The bus crash was a blow to Houston's Vietnamese religious community, as all 55 passengers were members of three Catholic churches in Houston, and had been on their way to an annual religious gathering in Missouri.

A number of lawsuits were filed shortly after the crash, claiming that the negligence of the charter bus company, the company that inspected the bus prior to the accident and the company that retread the blown out front tire all played a role in the deadly bus crash. A Houston court consolidated all of the wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, joining 160 plaintiffs -- including the families of those killed in the crash -- in the complicated litigation.

The financial terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but the settlement now leaves only six defendants remaining in the lawsuit.

Source: Boston.com, "11 defendants settle in fatal Texas bus crash," 6/22/11.

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