Accused wrong-way driver previously arrested for careless driving

Scene the bus crash that killed an Irvin High School coach and injured students. (CBS4)

KFOX14 has learned the man driving the truck that crashed into a chartered bus was previously arrested for a driving-related charge, and was also arrested just months ago for battery.

Gary Lawson, 51, of Hobbs, New Mexico, is suspected of driving in the wrong direction and causing a head-on collision with a chartered bus that was carrying EPISD students and staff coming back from a regional track meet in Lubbock.

Records in Lea County, New Mexico, show Lawson was previously charged with careless driving in 2009. He plead no contest and was fined $231. In January 2017, Lawson was arrested and charged with battery against a household member, interference with communications and negligent use of a deadly weapon.

KFOX14 spoke with Lawson's attorney, Ross Bettis. Bettis said he saw Lawson Friday morning when he was making a payment in court. Bettis said Lawson was in good spirits on Friday, and he thinks Lawson probably just fell asleep at the wheel.

Lawson died early Sunday at the scene of the crash, along U.S. Highway 62/180 in Hudspeth County, about 90 miles east of El Paso.

Arcadio Duran Jr., a coach and teacher from Irvin High School who was in the bus, also died.

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