By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - The driver of the charter bus that crashed near Dallas on Thursday, killing two people injuring dozens, was involved in another fatal bus accident in 1998, according to court documents.
The driver, Loyd Rieve, 65, was one of 44 people injured on Thursday morning when a Cardinal Coach Line bus taking a group of mostly senior citizens to an Oklahoma casino crashed and rolled over on a highway in Irving, officials said.
Cardinal representatives could not be reached for comment on Friday. American Bus Association spokesman Dan Ronan said Cardinal's safety record in the industry is good. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that Cardinal has few complaints against it in the past two years.
According to documents filed in a civil lawsuit against Rieve after the 1998 accident, he was driving a bus for a different company when it ran over and killed a man not far from the site of Thursday's crash. In the earlier accident, he hit a man who had stepped out of his car to assist another motorist who had hit a retaining wall, the court documents said. Rieve was not criminally charged.
Texas Highway Patrol spokesman, Trooper Lonny Haschel, said that "the driver's past, whatever that may be, won't have any play in the investigation of what happened yesterday."
Haschel said investigators have not yet talked with Rieve, who was still hospitalized in Dallas on Friday.
Teams of investigators on Friday were interviewing passengers and witnesses of the crash.
"It's going to be quite some time before any true causative factor is determined," Haschel said. "We will look at everything on that bus -- parts, tires, brakes, everything -- but there is nothing right now that will lead us in any one direction."
Police identified the dead as Sue Taylor, 81, and Paula Hahn, 69, both from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Grant McCool)