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Remembering a tragic bus accident on its 40th anniversary

As previous posts have indicated, there is often no type of accident more horrible than a bus crash, which has the potential to involve so many people. While in Connecticut, bus accidents do not occur that often, they do happen more than anyone would like. In the past few years, a number of bus-related incidents have spanned the local news. During this holiday season, a number of community members are also remembering a tragic crash that occurred forty years ago in a southern state.

Forty years ago, two busses were traveling around New Mexico with about 58 young individuals on a religious retreat As the busses traveled over a tight, two lane bridge, they approached an on-coming tractor-trailer hauling cattle. The first bus driver recalls noticing that the tractor-trailer was driving too fast. That first bus however managed to squeeze by the tractor unaffected. Yet, seconds later, as the second bus passed the same vehicle, the trailer ricocheted off the rail of the bridge and rammed into that second bus. Tragedy struck instantly.

According to the first bus driver, the impact was so harsh that the tractor actually ripped the frame of the second bus from the body. Occupants of the first bus scrambled to help those on the bus behind them. Nineteen people died in the incident with some families even losing two children, and one adolescent losing both his parents.

The tragedy greatly impacted not only those directly involved and their loved ones, but the country. The president at the time, Lyndon Johnson, was present at a mass funeral in a local auditorium. Thousands mourned the loss of these lives.

Today, the effected community and more are remembering this tragic incident. The negligence of another has the potential to end so many lives. Out of this sadness hopefully comes inspiration for more careful driving on the road. One bad decision can harm so many.

Source: Connecticut Post, "Survivors Recall fatal bus crash 40 years ago," Juan Castillo, Dec. 25, 2012.

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