6 Dead, bus with Mexican migrant workers suffered accident in Arkansas

THV11 spoke with a passenger on the bus who was treated at a hospital

Arkansas State Troopers said six people died in a charter bus accident along I-40 in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It happened overnight Friday.

Passengers are said to have been heading to Laredo, Texas from Monroe, Michigan.

Authorities said 22 adults were on board the 47-passenger bus. Of the six who were pronounced dead at the scene, three were ejected from the bus, one was partially ejected, and two were still on board the bus.

THV11 spoke with a passenger on the bus who was treated at a hospital. He said that the passengers were part of the H-2A program that allows migrants to legally come to the U.S. and work temporarily. The passengers are all from various places in Mexico. They had been in Michigan the past few months working on farms during various harvest seasons.

The names of those killed in the crash have not been released. American Red Cross assisted survivors by taking them to a nearby hotel and providing them with mental health support, as the crash was a traumatizing event.

Highway Patrol Maj. Mike Foster said at the time of accident, a light rain was falling and the road was wet, but there was no standing water. Foster said there was no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

The owner of Continental Charters, based in Detroit, recently sold the bus to Juan Vasquez of Vasquez Citrus and Hauling from Lake Placid, Florida. Three of the people on the bus were Vasquez employees, including the driver, identified as 28-year-old Roberto Vasquez of Monroe, Michigan.

State Police troopers are working with federal authorities and the Mexican Consulate of Little Rock, Arkansas to make notification of the deaths to next of kin who may be out of country.

Astrid Solorzano
THV11, Little Rock, AR

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December 14, 2017, 7:14 am
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