California Bus Crash Leaves 13 Dead, 31 Injured

There was a horrifying early morning California bus crash on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs at 5:17 a.m. Sunday morning. A tour bus full of passengers was returning from Red Earth Casino near Salton Sea, California when it slammed into the rear of an 18-wheeler at very high speed. The accident left 13 people dead and more than 30 others injured, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Among those killed in the accident was the bus driver. The truck’s driver was among the injured.

The bus involved in the accident was a 1996 MCI bus and was being operated by USA Holiday. According to survivors, most passengers were asleep. In their initial report, CHP noted that most victims were found in their seats and most of the dead passengers had been sitting in the front of the bus. While CHP and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, the cause is still unknown. Initial reports, however, do note that the bus was apparently traveling at a very high rate of speed when it hit the truck, based on the fact that the trailer entered roughly 15 feet into the bus. Also, because of ongoing construction work at the time, all traffic in the area had slowed down, except for the bus, apparently.

According to records, USA Holiday only runs that single bus and they only employ a single driver. It is not known at this time if that driver was the one who was killed. According to  their advertising, they offer weekend bus trips to casinos in Las Vegas and the Imperial Valley. They do have a history, however, as they were among 19 bus companies cited for unspecified violations in 2008, when the California Public Utilities Commission investigated passenger carriers in the state. An examination of the company’s insurance history also demonstrates a pattern of insurance revocations and reinstatements between 2009 and 2014.

There will have to be a thorough investigation of this accident. Right now, no one knows why this happened, but among the possible factors include drug or alcohol use, driver distraction or driver fatigue. It is also possible that the bus itself was defective in some way or that it hadn’t been maintained properly, although CHP has inspected the bus annually since 2014 and found no defects or problems when they last inspected it back in April. Most bus accidents are avoidable, when proper safety protocols are followed and when bus companies and drivers follow the regulations designed to protect everyone on the road. Drivers and mechanics should also be properly trained and qualified.

We can’t know if this was true in this case, but too often, bus companies place their profits ahead of safety. When they do so, they place everyone else on the road in danger. These accidents happen too often everywhere, including Texas. The victims of such accidents and their families deserve answers and they deserve to be compensated for any injuries or wrongful deaths by the responsible party or parties, which can include the bus company, the bus manufacturer, or any of a number of other parties, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash.

If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a bus accident, like the one in California or one of the accidents that happen in Texas every year, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable Bus Accident Injury Lawyer atthe Hill Law Firm, so that we can investigate your accident and help you protect your rights and get you the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.

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