SHERMAN, Texas -- A charter bus carrying Vietnamese worshippers on a pilgrimage ran off a highway overpass north of Dallas and plunged onto a roadway below early Friday, killing at least 13 people and sending at least 24 to hospitals.
The bus ran off U.S. 75 about 12:45 a.m. and skidded across a guard rail before falling 15 feet and landing on its side. The bus carrying 55 people from Houston to Missouri may have blown a tire, but officials were still investigating the crumpled wreckage littered with luggage, shopping bags and scattered clothing.
"You can't tell anything anymore," police Lt. Robert Fair said from the scene. "We're not ruling out anything right now."
The bus came to rest on its right side in the northbound lane of an access road. Workers righted the wreckage and loaded it onto a flatbed truck.
Police said 12 people died at the scene and another died at a Dallas hospital. At least five more were hospitalized in critical condition.
The accident happened less than a mile from the spot where a trucker crossed the median and killed 10 people five years ago.
The injured, including the driver of the bus, were rushed to several hospitals.
It was unclear if weather played a role in the accident. A National Weather Service meteorologist said there was some light rain in the area around midnight.
Northbound traffic on the highway was shut down as ambulances and helicopters used the roadway and median to ferry the injured to hospitals.
KHOU-TV quoted a Galveston/Houston archdiocese church official as saying many of those on the bus were from the Vietnamese Martyrs Church of Houston and were on their way to a religious festival in Carthage, Mo. At least four translators were brought to the scene, the Herald Democrat of Sherman reported.
The annual Marian Days Festival attracts tens of thousands of Vietnamese Catholics to Carthage from around the country each year.
Sherman is about 65 miles north of Dallas.
Associated Press writers Regina L. Burns and Jamie Stengle contributed to this report.