CAMPBELLTON, Texas — A broken drive shaft probably caused a Mexico-bound bus to veer wildly on a Texas highway before flipping over, killing two passengers and injuring 40 other people on board, investigators said yesterday.
The drive shaft, which transfers power from the engine to the wheels, apparently fell off before the Americanos USA bus carrying 42 people careened from the right lane toward the median and spun wildly, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said.
She said the findings were preliminary, and the investigation was ongoing.
The crash occurred along Interstate 37 about 45 miles from San Antonio, from where the bus had departed.
It was carrying spring break vacationers and other travelers to the Mexican border city of Matamoros, with planned stops in Falfurrias and McAllen, Texas.
Two passengers were killed — Christina Lozano Campos, 62, of Lewisville, and Efrain Dominguez-Valenzuela, 27, of Brownsville — and at least two others remained hospitalized in critical condition yesterday. Thirty-eight other people on board were either hospitalized in stable condition or had been treated and released.
Campos was traveling to Mexico to see her mother, her neighbor, Melvin Goforth, 72, said yesterday. He said she worked in a school and described her as “a real sweet woman, a real wonderful person.’’
Dominguez-Valenzuela had a wife and two young sons, said Marcela Cope, who manages the apartment complex where the family lives
The bus driver, Irma Morado, 47, was not cited.
The 15-year-old bus underwent its regularly scheduled maintenance Tuesday.