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Questions linger over crash that killed 4 NCTC softball players

September 26, 2014, proved to be a fateful day for the North Central Texas College women’s softball team. Four members of the team died that day in Oklahoma when a tractor-trailer truck sideswiped the bus they were riding in.

The team was on its way home after playing a scrimmage game in Bethany, headed south on Interstate 35. Meanwhile, according to reports at the time, an 18-wheeler headed north swerved off the road, crossed over more than 1,100 feet of median at high speed and ripped into the left side of the bus.

In the months since that tragic collision, authorities have been investigating what happened. State and federal officials have been going over the evidence and getting statements. It appears that the state has completed its probe of the case, but no report has been issued. The National Transportation Safety Board says a final report on its findings may still be months away.

At least three civil actions for wrongful death and personal injury have either been settled or dismissed since the crash. No details about what the settlement rendered are available and records don’t indicate why the other cases were dismissed.

In the early going of the accident investigation, officials say the 53-year-old truck driver indicated that he had been distracted by something in his cab. But Bloomberg News says its review of a sealed search warrant revealed that police found prescription drugs and marijuana in the truck.

Late last month, Oklahoma filed criminal charges against the driver. He’s now accused of four counts of manslaughter. He is reportedly free on bond. And it’s still not clear what caused the crash. Oklahoma officials haven’t provided even a summary of their investigation and prosecutors have refused to release the contents of a probable cause affidavit.

For accountability’s sake, the results of official investigations will surely be crucial.

Source: KXAS-TV, “Truck Driver in Deadly NCTC Softball Crash Faces Charges,” June 26, 2015