Deadly Bus Accident: Four Killed in California
Four passengers were killed and seven others seriously injured on Wednesday, May 21, when their tour bus crashed after coming upon a number of long metal pipes that had fallen from a tractor-trailer that had jackknifed just moments before. The accident occurred on Interstate 10 near the town of Blythe, which is located just a few miles west of the Arizona border.
According to officials with the California Department of Transportation, the accident happened sometime after 2 a.m., when the large truck carrying metal pipes jackknifed onto the median, causing its entire load to spill onto all lanes in both directions.
The bus, which was being operated by El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express Inc., was traveling west, en route from El Paso, Texas to Los Angeles, when it encountered the pipes that were scattered all over the road. It is unclear at this time whether the bus swerved to avoid the pipes or hit them head on, but either way, the bus overturned and . slid across the shoulder and down a slight 50-foot embankment. Two cars that were traveling in the eastbound lanes also crashed, although no one in those crashes was injured seriously.
Seven bus passengers were hurt seriously enough that emergency responders transported them to local hospitals. In addition, 14 other bus passengers reported minor injuries and were treated at the scene. The bus driver, who had just taken over driving duties during a stop in Phoenix, was unhurt in the accident. All remaining passengers were taken to Blythe, where they were questioned by investigators.
This marked the worst bus crash in California since a FedEx 18-wheeler crashed into a charter bus full of high school students last month in the northern part of the state. Ten passengers died in that crash.
This crash will have to be investigated thoroughly, to find out exactly what happened. Investigators will have to determine whether or not the truck driver or the bus driver was qualified to drive, or if they had been driving too long, in violation of the law. They’ll have to consider the maintenance records on both vehicles, as well as whether or not the truck’s load had been tied down properly. Road and weather conditions at the time of the accident will also be taken into consideration. The investigation into such an accident tends to be very long and very deliberate, and often takes months to complete.