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Driver: Brakes failed on bus that wrecked near Dallas Zoo

Investigators on Thursday were trying to determine if a brake failure caused a commercial bus to crash into a vacant building late Wednesday near the Dallas Zoo.

One person was hospitalized with multiple fractures, including a broken leg, said Kim Leach, spokeswoman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Office. The crash was reported about 11 p.m. Wednesday on an Interstate 35E frontage road.

The bus, operated by Houston-based Transportes Los Nortenos, was taking 37 people to Columbus, Ohio, according to reports. Six of them were treated at the scene for cuts and bruises, Leach said, but they didn't have to go to the hospital.

Another bus operated by the company caught fire and burned Tuesday on the southern edge of Dallas, according to reports. No injuries were reported then. On Wednesday, however, another bus from the company pulled off at Marsalis Avenue to make a stop.

Passengers later told investigators that the bus was still going "at a high rate of speed" off the ramp, and driver said the brakes weren't working, Leach said.

"He went into the corner of a vacant gas station and took out the side edge of the building," Leach said. "(It) traveled a little farther and just stopped, dangling over the embankment.

"If he had gone done there, there possibly could've been more injuries."

Investigators indicated, however, that it will be hard to determine if a brake failure happened because the front wheels were severely damaged in the wreck, Leach said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, The Associated Press reported.

The AP also reported that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gave the bus company a satisfactory safety rating after a compliance review last year.

The two wrecks this week happened nearly two weeks after a charter bus carrying 55 people from Houston crashed south of Sherman, killing 17 people and injuring everyone else on board.

Fatal carrier incidents near Dallas in recent included the June 24, 2002 crash of charter bus into a concrete bridge support on Interstate 20 near Terrell. That wreck killed the driver and four children from Metro Church in Garland. Dozens of other children were severely hurt.

Three years later, 24 elderly passengers died in a fire aboard a charter bus on Interstate 45 south of Dallas. They were among 45 people on the bus who were evacuated from a Houston-area nursing home as Hurricane Rita approached the Texas Gulf Coast.

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