JEFF DAVIS PARISH, La. (KXAN/KPLC) - Authorities were on the scene Wednesday of a wreck near Lake Charles, La. involving a commercial bus carrying a senior group based out of Bastrop, Texas.
"I got on the phone and started calling [the passengers] that I knew was on the bus," said Charles Carman, former president of the Bastrop Senior Center. "It worried me because I've got a lot of friends that goes on [those] trips and that bus that wrecked today had four of my real good friends on there. One of them got her leg broken."
The bus collided with a pickup truck on Highway 165 at Louisiana Highway 101, near the town of Iowa, according to Louisiana State Police.
Authorities say the truck, driven by 67-year-old Anthony Pitre, Sr. of Lake Charles, was traveling east on La. 101 about 2:30 p.m. when he failed to yield the right-of-way to the charter bus going north on U.S. 165.
Authorities say the bus tried to avoid the collision but ended up hitting the truck's passenger side.
Seven of the 46 passengers on the bus were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries. Pitre is in the hospital with serious injuries.
"The bus and the truck were both on fire," said Muriel Britton, who was on the bus, in a phone interview with KXAN News. "They kicked out the windows of the bus and we all had to jump out."
The bus was carrying seniors from Central Texas to the Coushatta Casino Resort for an overnight trip.
Reid Sharp, president of First National Bank in Bastrop, said one passenger on the bus was transported for a broken leg.
Sharp said two buses left Bastrop at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. He said the Bastrop Senior Center coordinates casino bus trips and the bank allows travelers to park at their main building before boarding the bus.
Britton expects the group to return to Bastrop Thursday night.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
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