Spain police say driver in bus crash may have fallen asleep

Undertaker workers carry the body of a person killed during a bus accident on the AP7 highway that links Spain with France along the Mediterranean coast near Freginals halfway between Valencia and Barcelona, Sunday, March 20, 2016. A bus carrying university students back from a fireworks festival crashed Sunday on a main highway in northeastern Spain, killing 14 passengers and injuring 30 others, a Catalonian official said. (AP Photo)

MADRID (AP) — The driver of a bus that crashed Sunday, killing 13 exchange students, may have fallen asleep or become distracted moments before the tragedy occurred in northeastern Spain, police said Wednesday.

Regional police commissioner Miquel Esquius told reporters that although investigations are continuing, police believe the driver may have dozed off or become distracted by a mobile phone or by talking to someone.

He said many of the nearly 60 students on the bus, including the 13 who died, were not wearing seat belts at the time of the early-morning crash south of Barcelona.

Seven of those killed were from Italy. The other six were two Germans, an Austrian, a French woman, a Romanian and an Uzbek.

The driver is the only one of 19 people still being treated in local hospitals who is said to be in critical condition. He has yet to give testimony regarding the accident. Authorities say he is being investigated for possible negligent homicide.

The students were returning from a firework festival in the eastern coastal city of Valencia.

They were studying in Barcelona as part of the European Union*s Erasmus exchange program.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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