Some callers were breathless and others crying as they flooded emergency phone lines to report a weekend crash that killed three on Interstate 25 north of Bernalillo.
“There’s children bleeding, there’s people unconscious,” a female caller tells a dispatcher. “They’re pulling them out of the bus right now. The bus flipped over.”
Authorities on Tuesday released 911 recordings and dispatch communications from the night of the crash along Interstate 25, just north of Bernalillo.
Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Keith Elder on Wednesday identified the three killed as Maria Delosangeles, 65, from Mexico living in Denver; Olga Hernandes de Grajeda, 58, from Chihuahua, Mexico, living in Rocky Ford, Colo.; and Maria Doleres Orrantia Camacho, 70, from Chihuahua, Mexico, living in Loveland, Colo.
Authorities said that initial reports that the driver of a car that slammed into a pickup truck and started the chain-reaction crash was among the dead were incorrect.
Authorities have said the bus driver tried to avoid the wreckage, but lost control.
The bus – headed from Denver to El Paso – crossed into oncoming lanes and rolled on its side before it was sideswiped by a tractor-trailer. Twenty-four people on the bus were injured.
One of the first calls came from the pickup driver, who told dispatchers that his truck came to rest in the median of the interstate near Bernalillo. It was just after 2 a.m.
The man told the dispatcher he was uninjured and walking back toward the other car.
Within moments, there was more urgency. “Oh my God. You hear that? There are more accidents,” he says.
The first police and emergency responders on the scene are heard in the recordings asking dispatchers to send more help from surrounding communities. They said they need more ambulances for an estimated 30 to 40 patients.
Photos showed the bus on its side and a car that was nearly flattened.
Dispatchers also received requests from officers to close the interstate as the wreckage was blocking both directions.
Authorities have said that emergency responders reported treating 38 people at the scene, with injuries ranging from broken bones and lacerations to head and internal injuries.
Several patients were treated and released soon after the crash. Ten remained hospitalized as of Wednesday, but officials at University of New Mexico Hospital said none was in critical condition.