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Accident Report Detail

Motorcoach Rollover on U.S. Highway 59

Executive Summary

On January 2, 2008, about 4:13 a.m., a 2005 Volvo 47-passenger motorcoach, operated by a 42-year-old driver and carrying 47 passengers, was proceeding northbound on U.S. Highway 59 (U.S. 59) about 5 miles south of Victoria, Texas, when the motorcoach driver partially drifted off the right edge of the roadway. The driver oversteered to the left to avoid leaving the roadway, resulting in the motorcoach coming back across both lanes, departing the left edge of the roadway, and partially entering an earthen median. The driver oversteered again to the right in an attempt to reenter the roadway and then oversteered to the left a second time upon realizing the motorcoach had gone too far right. As a result of the final oversteer, the motorcoach yawed to the left, rotated counterclockwise, and overturned onto its right side. The motorcoach's right rear struck a guardrail as the motorcoach slid on its right side approximately 112 feet before coming to rest across the roadway. Within 5 minutes, and before emergency responders arrived on scene, a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck also traveling northbound on U.S. 59 struck the underside of the motorcoach forward of the rear axle. As a result of the initial motorcoach rollover, 1 passenger was fatally injured, and 46 passengers and the driver received injuries ranging from minor to serious. The driver of the pickup truck sustained minor injuries when the pickup truck struck the undercarriage of the motorcoach.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the driver's falling asleep, which caused him to partially drift off the road, resulting in oversteer corrections when the driver regained awareness, and subsequent vehicle loss of control and overturn. Contributing to the severity of the unrestrained passengers' injuries was their striking objects and other passengers inside the motorcoach, as well as the partial ejections that occurred when the motorcoach overturned during the accident.

Accident Location: Victoria , TX    
Accident Date: 1/2/2008
Accident ID: HWY08MH011

Date Adopted: 12/8/2009
NTSB Number: HAR-09-03
NTIS Number: PB2009-916203