Sep 27, 2014 9:51 AM

College softball bus crashes in Oklahoma, 4 dead

The Associated Press

DAVIS, Okla. (AP) A tractor-trailer crossed a southern Oklahoma highway median and plowed into the side of a Texas college softball team's bus, killing four team members and injuring more than a dozen others, authorities said.

The collision involving the North Central Texas College team happened at around 9 p.m. Friday on Interstate 35 south of Davis, which is about 70 miles south of Oklahoma City and 60 miles north of Gainesville, Texas, where the school is located.

The team was heading home from a scrimmage earlier Friday against Southern Nazarene University, in Bethany.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Ronnie Hampton said three young women from the team died at the scene, and a fourth woman died at a hospital in nearby Sulphur, the Oklahoman reported (http://bit.ly/1vo7lIS ). None of the victims were identified.

Hampton said the team's coach, who was driving the bus, declined treatment at the scene and escaped without serious injury. He said 15 other bus passengers were hurt, as was the driver of the tractor-trailer, who was expected to survive.

"Right now, it's being investigated like a homicide," Hampton said, adding that both drivers will undergo standard toxicology tests. Hampton said details of the crash were still not known but "something happened to cause (the semi-tractor driver) to depart the roadway and impact the other vehicle."

He said the accident will remain under investigation for several weeks.

Hampton said the semi crossed the median and veered into the southbound lanes, hitting the bus.

"When it impacted the bus, it just kept going and went off the side of road. ... We knew we had a two-vehicle accident by what we saw at the scene. ... But it took about an hour before we found the semi," he said.

The front end of the team van was virtually untouched, but the sides of the vehicle were heavily damaged. Troopers and witnesses said the driver's side of the van sustained the worst damage.

A posting on the North Central Texas College Facebook page reads: "We ask for your prayers at this time for our softball team. Their bus has been involved in an accident in Oklahoma."

The school is expected to release a statement later Saturday.

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