• Federal investigation of deadly charter bus wreck that killed 4 is closed

    By: Allison Latos

    Updated:

    ROCK HILL, S.C. - It's been more than nine months since a charter bus carrying a Rock Hill football team crashed in Richmond County, killing four people and injuring more than 40 others.

    Federal transportation officials launched an investigation into the crash, but anchor Allison Latos just learned they have closed the case without determining why the crash happened.

    [READ MORE: NTSB findings on charter bus crash]

    The National Transportation Safety Board report is packed with facts the investigators found, but it doesn't explain why the front tire on the bus blew out.


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    The painful memories of the tragic charter bus crash haven't faded for Ramah Juco’s football coach, Derrick Crawford.

    “My wife will tell me sometimes when I'm asleep at night, I'll say something like, I'm screaming, ‘Stop the bus. Stop,’” Crawford said.

    In September, the bus carrying the Rock Hill team crashed on U.S. Highway 74. The four people killed included two football players and a coach's son.

    “It was a horrible scene, like a war zone,” Crawford said.

    The North Carolina Highway Patrol said front left tire blew, and the driver lost control and slammed into the median.

    The NTSB report included snapshots of the shredded tire, highlighting a hole and rust on the exposed steel belt.

    The case was closed without answering why the tire failed.

    An NTSB spokesman said they examine crashes looking for new recommendations or ways to prevent future accidents.

    “We had reached a point where we felt that it wasn't productive to continue that investigation, because we didn't think we were going to learn anything new from it,” spokesman Chris O’Neil said.

    Crawford said his focus is on the future and a new football season.

    Juco's team will start practicing at Carroll Park on Aug. 2.

    Their first game is away in Atlanta on Aug. 26.

    Crawford said he's nervous about getting back on a charter bus, but he's pushing forward for his players.

    Crawford, another coach and several players are suing an American company that imported the tire from China. 

    Their attorney said they're close to settling a civil lawsuit against Sandy River Baptist Church, which operated the charter bus.

    In November, the North Carolina Department of Transportation told the church to stop all charter bus operations

     

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