WAAY 31 discovered several prior safety complaints logged against the operator of the tour bus, which crashed while headed from Huntsville to Tunica, Mississippi. Two Huntsville women, 76-year-old Betty Russell and 61-year-old Cynthia Hardin, died in the crash.
Teague VIP Express is the name of the charter bus company that operated the bus involved in the crash. It is based in Anniston. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found violations in four of the company's five prior inspections. Despite those violations, the company's safety rating is listed as "satisfactory."
WAAY 31 spoke to a representative for the company and learned the owner is in Mississippi meeting with injured passengers. She declined to provide his first name, only naming him as "Mr. Teague." However, the Alabama Motorcoach Association lists the owners as Tyrone Teague and Clarene Teague-Johnson on their website.
The representative said the company is providing food and hotel accommodations for those on board the bus at the time of the crash. They will also transport them back to their homes.
We contacted Teague VIP Express and left multiple messages, however, our phone calls were not returned. We did receive a formal statement from the company which reads, "Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy. Please keep everyone involved and their families in your prayers."