Four members of a Texas college softball team were killed after a tractor-trailer crossed the center median and collided with the team's van Friday night just south of Turner Falls, authorities said.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Ronnie Hampton said three young women — all members of the North Central Texas College softball team — died at the scene following the accident that happened on Interstate 35 about 9 p.m. Friday. A fourth woman died at a hospital.
It was not immediately known how many people were on the bus. None of the victims have been identified.
The softball team was returning to North Central Texas College in Gainseville after playing a scrimmage with Southern Nazarene University in Bethany earlier Friday.
"What we do know is that the semi (truck) was headed north on I-35 when he departed the roadway and entered the southbound lanes," Hampton told The Oklahoman. "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."
The front end of the team van was virtually untouched while the sides of the vehicle were heavily damaged. Troopers and witnesses said the driver's side of the van sustained the worst damage.
Hampton said the van's driver — who also is the coach of the softball team — declined treatment at the scene and escaped without serious injury. The driver of the tractor-trailer was taken to a hospital for treatment and is 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 thecrash 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.
A Post 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.