The Latest: Names of Arkansas bus crash survivors released

This photo provided by KTHV in Little Rock shows a charter bus being towed away after it ran off Interstate 40 and hit a bridge abutment on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 in North Little Rock Ark.  Some passengers were killed in the crash along with several injuries. A heavy storm had recently passed through the area and left light rain and fog in its wake, but it wasn't immediately known if weather played a role. (Photo courtesy of KTHV via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
This photo provided by KTHV in Little Rock shows a charter bus being towed away after it ran off Interstate 40 and hit a bridge abutment on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 in North Little Rock Ark. Some passengers were killed in the crash along with several injuries. A heavy storm had recently passed through the area and left light rain and fog in its wake, but it wasn't immediately known if weather played a role. (Photo courtesy of KTHV via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The latest on the crash of a cross-country bus in North Little Rock, Arkansas (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Arkansas State Police have released the names of the 16 survivors of a bus crash in North Little Rock that killed six people.

Police said the names of the six killed in Friday’s wreck are being withheld until all families have been notified of the deaths

Most of the survivors are from Mexico, and three are from Florida. Two are from Lake Placid, Florida, where the company that owned the bus is located. The survivors range in age from 19 to 43.

Arkansas State Police also said that the bus driver, 28-year-old Roberto Vasquez, lists his residence as Arcadia, Florida, although his driver’s license lists his address as Monroe, Michigan.

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4 p.m.

Michigan transportation officials say a bus involved in a crash in Arkansas that killed six people had passed all recent safety inspections.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Frezell says the 1997 Van Hool bus involved in Friday’s crash had passed all its annual inspections since 2009, as required under state law.

Frezell says the bus was last inspected in April and that transportation officials did not know what condition it was in when it was sold last month.

The bill of sale and title to the bus, both dated Oct. 31, declared its value to be $8,000.

The bus was ferrying migrant farmworkers from Michigan to Texas when it ran off a highway and hit an overpass in Arkansas.

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3:10 p.m.

The company involved in a bus crash that killed six people on an Arkansas interstate had received approval from the federal government to bring foreign nationals to the U.S. to work in temporary agricultural jobs.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it approved a petition from Juan Vasquez, doing business as Juan Vasquez Citrus, last year under its H-2A worker program. The program allows U.S. employers who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring in foreign nationals.

Employers must prove the jobs are seasonal and they don’t have enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work. H-2A visa holders can stay in no more than three years.

Authorities have not yet released the names or nationalities of those killed in Friday’s crash but said the Mexican Consulate was helping to contact relatives.

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2:45 p.m.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is offering condolences to survivors of a bus crash in North Little Rock that killed six migrant farmworkers.

Hutchinson told reporters Friday he’s been receiving briefings from State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant about the early morning crash, which also injured six others.

Hutchinson called the crash a “serious tragedy that bears exploring,” but his statement Friday said the immediate focus should be on the families of the victims.

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1:50 p.m.

Federal immigration officers are responding to a bus crash in Arkansas that killed six migrant farmworkers and injured six others. But their only role is to help translate for the Spanish-speaking survivors.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox says his agency is not pursuing any kind of criminal investigation of the people involved. Meanwhile, Arkansas State Police have reached out to the Mexican Consulate to notify relatives of the victims.

State police say the bus was owned by Florida-based Vasquez Citrus and Hauling and was traveling from Michigan to Texas when it left the highway and hit an overpass on Interstate 40 early Friday with 22 people on board.

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10:45 a.m.

Arkansas authorities have identified the driver in an interstate bus crash that killed six people and injured six others.

Arkansas State Police say 28-year-old Roberto Vasquez of Monroe, Michigan, was behind the wheel of the bus when it crashed into a bridge abutment early Friday just outside Little Rock.

State police say Vasquez has agreed to be tested for drugs and alcohol as is routine in crash investigations, but Maj. Mike Foster says there’s no indication he was intoxicated.

State police say the bus was owned by Vasquez Citrus and Hauling of Lake Placid, Florida. A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for the company hung up when reached by The Associated Press on Friday.

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10:10 a.m.

Arkansas authorities say a charter bus that crashed near Little Rock, killing six people, was traveling from Michigan to Texas.

Arkansas State Police Maj. Mike Foster says the bus was traveling from Monroe, Michigan, to Laredo, Texas, when it crashed early Friday on Interstate 40. Foster says the bus was being used by Vasquez Citrus and Hauling out of Lake Placid, Florida.

Foster says the bus had 22 people on board: the 28-year-old driver, two employees of Vasquez Citrus and Hauling and 19 other passengers.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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This story has been corrected to show that the driver is 28, not 29.

9:45 a.m.

Authorities say there’s no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash of a charter bus on an Arkansas interstate that killed six people.

Arkansas State Police Col. Bill Bryant says authorities are still trying to determine why the driver of the bus drove into a concrete barrier and crashed into a bridge overpass, shearing the roof off the bus.

Bryant says three of the dead were thrown from the bus.

Bryant says the driver was not injured in the crash, which happened early Friday on Interstate 40 just outside Little Rock.

Bryant says six people were injured but have been treated and released from hospitals.

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8:15 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending investigators to Arkansas to look into a fatal bus crash in North Little Rock that killed as many as six people.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said the agency is conducting an investigation separate from the police investigation, and will look at safety issues related to the crash. He said investigators will focus on driver fatigue and how passengers were protected in the early Friday morning crash, but may look into other issues once they get on the scene.

Weiss didn’t have a specific timeline for how long the investigation would take.

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7:25 a.m.

The owner of a Michigan company whose name is emblazoned on a charter bus involved in a fatal crash in Arkansas says he’d recently sold a bus.

Jeff Lawson, who identified himself as the owner of Continental Charters in Detroit, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper that he sold the bus Saturday to a man who “said he needed a second bus to haul people from (Detroit) to Texas… and Florida.”

The bus that crashed early Friday on Interstate 40 in Arkansas had “Continental” displayed on the side.

Lawson says that as part of the sale, he stipulated that the buyer remove the “Continental” lettering from the bus. He says Continental Charters did not have any scheduled routes in Arkansas on Thursday and does not regularly operate in the area.

Lawson says the bus he sold is a 1997 Van Hool that was most recently inspected by his company in February or March.

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5:30 a.m.

Arkansas State Police say as many as six people were killed in an early morning charter bus crash along Interstate 40 in North Little Rock.

A number of injuries were also reported after the westbound bus left the cross-country highway and hit a bridge abutment early Friday. Many were transported from the scene in ambulances.

Troopers said they received reports about a single-vehicle crash around 1 a.m., shortly after strong storms had passed through the area. The National Weather Service said there was light rain and fog around the time of the accident, but it wasn’t immediately known if weather played a role in the crash.

Traffic was briefly diverted through North Little Rock, but one westbound lane of I-40 had been re-opened by 3 a.m. Traffic remains snarled.

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5:09 a.m.

Arkansas State Police say as many as six people were killed in an early morning charter bus crash along Interstate 40 in North Little Rock.

Multiple people with injuries have also been transported from the scene by ambulance.

Troopers received the reports about the single vehicle crash around 1 a.m. Friday. The bus was traveling westbound when it left the roadway and collided with an overpass abutment.

Westbound I-40 traffic near the crash was initially diverted through North Little Rock, but one westbound lane through the crash scene had been opened by 3 a.m.

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