PHOENIX (AP) – Four Mexican residents remained hospitalized Wednesday after the charter bus they were on was struck by a pickup truck going the wrong way on a rural Arizona interstate, authorities said.
The pickup’s 78-year-old driver was killed and nine passengers aboard the charter bus owned by TBC Connexion were injured in Tuesday afternoon’s accident on Interstate 10 in Casa Grande, about 50 miles south of Phoenix.
Officials with the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix said the four still hospitalized were family-related from Sinaloa. They didn’t immediately release their names or provide updates on their conditions or injuries Wednesday.
The bus was headed from Mexico to Phoenix with 15 passengers and a driver, who escaped injury.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety identified the bus driver as Leonardo Leyva, 46, of Nogales, Ariz.
A DPS spokesman said Leyva was conscious and walking around when authorities arrived. But they also said he was covered in blood and was originally thought to be one of the injured. The DPS said the blood on Leyva actually was from another passenger.
A call to a listed phone number for Leyva in Nogales wasn’t answered Wednesday afternoon and calls to TBC Conexion’s offices in Phoenix and Tucson seeking comment on the crash weren’t returned.
DPS officials identified the pickup driver as Francis Wilkens Gibson Jr. of Casa Grande. The truck burst into flames and Gibson was declared dead at the scene.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation and DPS officials said it still was unclear where Gibson got on the interstate.
DPS officials said that about two minutes before the 2:15 p.m. crash, they received two 911 calls about a driver on Interstate 10 _ the main route from Phoenix to Tucson _ travelling east in the westbound lanes.
“We were responding when the accident occurred,” DPS spokesman Bart Graves said.
DPS Capt. Brian Preston said investigators were working to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.
The Casa Grande Dispatch reported that Gibson was a teacher at Evergreen Elementary School from 1968 until he retired in 1993.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.