DOT: Second fatal crash for tour bus company in less than a year - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

DOT: Second fatal crash for tour bus company in less than a year

A passenger bus crashed Tuesday morning on Interstate 10 at mile marker 57 near the Alabama/Florida line. (Photo by Jesus Tejeda) A passenger bus crashed Tuesday morning on Interstate 10 at mile marker 57 near the Alabama/Florida line. (Photo by Jesus Tejeda)
BALDWIN COUNTY, AL (WALA) -

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System, the tragic bus crash on I-10 in Baldwin County Tuesday morning, March 13, is the second fatal accident for the First Class Tours company in less than a year. 

Last May, a First Class Tours bus reportedly struck a woman crossing the street in downtown Houston. 

Authorities said the bus driver failed to yield the right of way, killing 73-year-old Mari Zamarripa. 

The DOT said First Class Tours has a "satisfactory" rating, which is the highest rating it could receive.  

However, the database lists four crashes involving the company in the last two years, making Tuesday's accident the fifth crash in two years. 

Federal records showed the company has 94 total drivers and there have been 255 total inspections in the last two years.

The DOT inspected the company's vehicles 247 times, and out of those inspections, only four vehicles were required to be taken out of service. 

The DOT also inspected the company's drivers 127 times in the last two years, and no drivers were required to be taken out of service. 

FOX10 News Investigates asked the company about its medical requirements for its drivers. 

First Class Tours answered with the following statement:

Drivers are required by federal DOT regulations to have checkups every 2 years. The driver, Harry Caligone, had just had a checkup earlier this month. Drivers are also subject to random drug and alcohol testing while employed. They are also drug/alcohol tested as a requirement for employment. -David Norman, First Class Tours

The charter passenger bus, carrying high school band students from Channelview High School near Houston, Texas, crashed Tuesday morning on Interstate 10 at mile marker 57 near the Alabama/Florida line. 

One person died in the crash, according to the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said the driver was killed. 

Baldwin County authorities told FOX10 News the bus fell off westbound I-10 into a ravine at Cowpen Creek around 5:30 a.m. They were traveling on a school trip to Disney World in Florida, officials said.  

DOT stats show there have been 130 fatal crashes in the U.S. involving charter tour buses since 2012. 

The last time a fatal tour bus crash happened in Alabama was in 2013, when a charter bus collided with a pickup truck on Perdido Beach Boulevard in Orange Beach, killing the driver of the pickup truck, and seriously injuring the driver of the bus. 

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