A truck driver whose semitrailer crashed into a bus in Oklahoma and killed four members of the North Central Texas College softball team has been charged with four counts of first-degree manslaughter.
Russell Wayne Staley, 53, of Saginaw, Texas, was charged Thursday in Murray County District Court in the Sept. 26, 2014, deaths of 19-year-old Meagan Richardson of Wylie, Texas; 18-year-old Katelynn Woodlee of Windom, Texas; 20-year-old Jaiden Pelton of Telephone, Texas; and 20-year-old Brooke Deckard of Scurry, Texas.
Staley's attorney didn't immediately return a phone call Friday seeking comment on the charges. Staley previously told investigators he was distracted by something in his cab.
The team was returning to Gainesville, Texas, from a scrimmage in Bethany when the northbound semi crossed the median on Interstate 35 near Davis and struck the left side of the southbound bus.
The charges follow a nine-month investigation of the collision by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
A suspected cause of the crash has not been released and the patrol said a summary of its investigation is part of the probable cause affidavit. The Murray County district attorney's office declined to release the affidavit.
A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report on the crash released in October said the semi followed a slight curve to the right but "failed to continue with the northbound lanes of I-35 and departed the left lane, entering the 92-foot-wide depressed earthen median."
The report said the rig traveled more than 1,100 feet in the median at a speed of 72-73 mph before entering southbound lanes and colliding with the left side of the bus.
The bus rolled onto its right side with the left side of the vehicle peeled away starting just behind its cab. The tractor-trailer continued for nearly 300 feet, traveling though the southbound lanes into a wooded area.
The NTSB has said a final report with a possible cause of the crash could take up to a year to complete.
This story has been corrected to reflect that charges were filed on Thursday, instead of Friday.