Authorities are still investigating a tragic bus accident on a California highway that resulted in the deaths of 13 people.
The fatal auto accident occurred around 5:17 a.m. on Sunday morning, near Palm Springs, California. A 1996 MCI tour bus carrying dozens of people on their way back to Los Angeles after visiting the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, CA. Approximately one hour after the bus departed from the casino, the driver reportedly lost control and slammed into the rear of a tractor trailer. At the time of the accident, most of the bus passengers were asleep in their seats.
The driver of the tour bus, a 59-year-old man from Los Angeles, died as a result of the crash. Additionally, 12 passengers on board the bus also died due to the accident. The Riverside County Coroner’s Bureau stated that the deaths were caused by the bus accident. The victims ranged in age from 52 to 72, with most of the fatalities involving people sitting in the front seats of the bus.
According to law enforcement, 30 other passengers on the tour bus and the driver of the tractor trailer were injured in the crash. The individual operating the tractor trailer is a 50-year-old Georgia man.
California State Police officials indicated that there did not appear to be any evidence of braking by the tour bus driver prior to the collision. Jim Abele, the border division chief for the California Highway Patrol, spoke with the media and said that “there were no skid marks from the bus at the time of the collision.” Abele noted that the only skid marks visible on the roadway came from the big rig that ended up being pushed forward by the bus upon impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is actively investigating the bus accident and trying to determine exactly what happened. A spokesperson for the NTSB said that the safety agency will be examining a number of details and possible factors in the crash, including the driving record of the tour bus operator, the driver record of the man operating the tractor trailer, the drivers’ respective accident histories, and the degree of training provided to the tour bus driver.
The NTSB has already indicated that the tour bus was inspected in April 2016 and showed no signs of mechanical issues.
USA Holiday, the company that operates the tour bus involved in the fatal accident, was reportedly owned by the driver. In fact, this is believed to be the only bus that the company operated. Depending on the circumstances leading to the accident, it is possible that family members of the passengers who died may be able to file wrongful death claims against the tour bus company, while the injured passengers who survived may be able to file personal injury lawsuits.
For more information, read the CNN.com article, “Police: ‘No Appearance of Braking’ in Deadly Bus Crash.”
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an auto accident anywhere in California, a qualified personal injury lawyer can assist you. At The Paris Firm, we can help. Contact The Paris Firm now to schedule a free initial consultation.