Two dead, 44 injured after tour bus overturns on I-269 in DeSoto County

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — Two people are dead and 44 injured after a tour bus headed from Huntsville, Alabama to Tunica, Mississippi overturned in icy conditions on Interstate 269 in DeSoto County.

The crash happened at 12:35 Wednesday on southbound I-269 at U.S. 78. DeSoto County authorities said there were 46 people on the bus. The deceased victims have been identified as Cynthia Hardin, 61, and Betty Russell, 76.

Both were from Huntsville, Alabama.

The cause of the crash has not been released, but the Mississippi Highway Patrol said weather conditions were a factor. The agency is investigating.

A tour bus sits overturned on I-269 at U.S. 78 in DeSoto County on Wednesday.

I-269 remained closed in both directions at U.S. 78 for hours.

The charter company that owns the bus is Teague VIP Express, of Anniston, Alabama. Federal records show no crashes listed for the company in the past 24 months, and a Satisfactory safety rating.

But the company was cited in a 2017 review for 15 violations, including worn or missing steering systems, an axle problem and a cracked or broken wheel. The company's three buses were taken out of service, records show.

The company posted a message to its social media account saying, "Our hearts and prayers go out to victims of this tragedy. Please keep everyone involved and families in your prayers."

Baptist Hospital confirmed that 19 patients from the wreck were sent to their DeSoto facility. Three of them were listed in serious condition, while the condition was undetermined for 16, a hospital spokesperson said.

Two patients at Baptist needed trauma care and were later transferred to Regional One in Memphis.

Another seven patients were sent to Baptist Collierville and 18 others went to Methodist in Olive Branch. Their conditions were not released. One patient at Baptist Collierville was later released.