At least 13 people are dead and dozens more seriously injured after a tour bus crashed into a tractor-trailer in Palm Springs, California Sunday morning. The fatal crash occurred at approximately 5 a.m. on Interstate 10.
Law enforcement statements indicated that speed was the cause of the deadly bus crash. Surviving passengers report that the bus slammed into the back of the tractor trailer. The crash was so hard, that the 15 feet of the rear of the truck ended up in the front of the bus.
The impact killed the bus driver, as well as 12 passengers. The majority of the dead victims had been sitting in the front of the bus, where the back of the truck ended up. The driver of the truck was also injured in the crash.
Another 31 passengers were transported to area hospitals. The bus, which is owned by Los Angeles-based USA Holiday Bus, was returning from a casino in Salton Sea, CA. The bus was manufactured in 1996 and did not have seat belts. Because of the lack of seat belts, many of the injured victims suffered facial injuries in the crash and may require plastic surgery.
Investigators are hoping to recover a data recorder which would indicate how fast the bus was traveling and whether the driver tried braking at the time of the crash. However, because of the age of the bus, it may not have had a recorder on board. One of the things law enforcement will attempt to determine is if something happened to the bus driver – either a medical condition, fatigued driving, or driving under the influence – which would have caused the crash.
There is also a possibility of a mechanical failure, as well. Records show that the California Highway Patrol had performed periodic inspections on the vehicle beginning in 2014, and the latest was done in April of this year.
Authorities are calling this one of the deadliest bus crashes in California history. Witnesses of the horrific crash report that everyone on the bus, both dead and alive, were covered in blood. We can only imagine the overwhelming grief of the families of victims as they wait for confirmation on the death of their loved one. Those bus crash victims who were fortunate enough to survive likely face a long road of pain and recovery for the injuries they have suffered. All of the victims should consult with a skilled bus crash attorney to assist them through this horrendous event.