A tour bus accident killed eight and injured 38 in early February when it swerved out of control on a Southern California road. The bus struck another car before flipping and slamming into a truck.
The crash occurred about 80 miles to the east of Los Angeles at around 6:30pm. The bus was carrying passengers from Tijuana, Mexico to Big Beaer. According to Mario Lopez, spokesman of the California Highway Patrol, the front end of the bus was crushed from striking the initial car, and debris and wreckage was strewn across two lanes of State Route 38.
The scene itself was described as chaotic by authorities, who had a difficult time determining the wounded from the dead. Both those killed at the scene and those injured were immediately transported to area hospitals. Injuries ranged in level of severity, and authorities reported that at least two remained in critical condition at the end of the day.
“It’s a really a mess up there with body parts,” commented Michelle Profant, spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation. She described the scene as “shocking.” Rescuers searched the wreckage for hours after the wreck, trying to find signs of life amidst the crumbled bus. The mountainous terrain and hazards caused by the mangled bus delayed some rescue efforts and made the search more difficult for emergency first responders.
The accident received prompt attention from tv and news outlets.
Despite the severity of the crash, the bus driver survived and was able to shed some light on the cause of the tragic accident. According to him, the bus experienced brake problems during its descent down the mountain. It crushed into the back of another vehicle before flipping. It slid, and struck a truck with a trailer before coming to rest across the road.
The tour bus was owned and operated by Scapadas Magicas LLC. Based in National City, California, the company had full authorization to operate in California and had had no crashes in the two years prior to this one. Additionally, the company had just received a “satisfactory” safety review rating the previous month.
The trip had departed at 5 a.m. that morning for a skiing getaway in Big Bear, Calif., on the opposite end of Route 38 past the San Bernadino National Forest. The accident occurred between Mentone and Forest Falls, according to Eric Sherwin, San Bernardino Fire Department spokesman.
“The information that we have is that the bus’ brakes failed and the accident occurred,” said Jordi Garcia, manager of InterBus Tours, who ran the trip.
A bus accident such as this can happen in an instant, be it the result of driver negligence, another vehicle’s error, or defective components within the bus itself. Regardless of the cause, a bus accident can cause grievous injuries, financial and emotional hardship, and at worst, death. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Killino Firm want to help. Contact us today.