ENNIS — Thirty-one people were transported to area hospitals for evaluation after the bus they were riding stuck a train bridge on Thursday morning. Emergency crews were dispatched at 10:38 a.m. to the 100 block of E. Baylor St.
“The underpasses that we have here are small and we had a tour bus try to go under it. The bus was too big to go under it and there were some elderly people on the tour bus,” Ennis Police Lt. Fred Pontley said. “Pretty much all of them had some type of injury, a knot or their lips split from the sudden stop of hitting the seat in front of them.”
Pontley said the bus had 32 people on board, including the driver.
Ennis Fire Marshal Chad Wester said 31 were taken to Baylor University Medical Center, Ennis Regional Medical Center, Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas, Navarro Regional Hospital in Corsicana and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Waxahachie. Five ambulances were at the scene and a call was made for mutual aid to the Cedar Hill Fire Department for the use for its ambulance bus. According to the Cedar Hill Fire Department’s website, the bus is designed, equipped and manned to accommodate 18 patients on stretchers and five more in wheelchairs. The bus was dispatched to the scene and transported 11 patients to Waxahachie.
The bus was west on Baylor Street at the time of the accident. No trains were crossing over the bridge at time. Members of Union Pacific were called out to the scene to assess any structural damage to the bridge.
“We had to shutdown the roadway underneath the railroad tracks. It is not a grade crossing. It is a grade separation crossing. The tracks go over Baylor Street there. We had to shut it down because of the structural damage that was caused by the overpass from the bus striking it. We're still waiting to hear back from Union Pacific as far as the estimate on the damage, but it has some structural damage that is going to be quite extensive,” Ennis police officer Brian Shahan said. “They have another set of tracks there that go over the same crossing. It is kind of like a bypass or secondary tracks that they are going to be using. The vehicle traffic underneath the tracks on Baylor Street is going to be closed off at least until the beginning of this coming week at least.”
Shahan said the bus driver, Arlington resident Charles Walton Jr. 58, was cited by police for a violation of the Texas transportation code 621.504 that pertains to bridge or underpass clearance. The company who owns the bus Walton was driving is AJL International. According to the AJL International Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation’s website, they are based out of DFW Airport. They specialize in chauffeured transportation service for business and association meetings, conventions, incentive meetings, special events and corporate travel.
Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at email@example.com or 469-517-1451.