On Sunday, a tour bus that was on a trip from Los Angeles, California to Pasco, Washington veered off a highway in Northern California, causing it to roll over, landing on a frontage road upside-down on its roof. According to the California Highway Patrol, the accident, which occurred on Interstate 5 around 7:30 a.m. about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, left one 33-year-old man dead and 30 others injured.
Three of the injured were transported by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta, where they were said to be in critical condition with serious head injuries. Most of the other injured people were transported to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, where three of them were said to be in serious condition. The rest treated for relatively minor injuries.
To make matters worse, it was actually the second accident of the day for the bus, which was a 1996 Vanhool, and the driver, 67-year-old Jose Victor Garcilazo of Los Angeles. Garcilazo was driving for Othello, Washington-based Yellow Arrow LLC. Earlier in the morning, the bus struck an overhang at a Denny’s restaurant in Red Bluff, California, located about 50 miles south of the area of the more serious accident. Reports did not say whether the bus had suffered damage or why the bus was allowed to continue its trip, but there had been no injuries. .
According to CHP investigators, there was evidence at both crash sites suggesting that driver fatigue may have been a factor in both accidents. They did not say whether they planned to issue citations or warrants, or if drugs or alcohol may have been involved. The Yellow Arrow LLC operating license is current and had experienced no reported accidents over the past two years.
This crash occurred on the same highway, and about 90 miles away from an accident last April, in which a FedEx tractor-trailer crashed into a charter bus carrying high school students, killing ten of them.
The investigation of this accident will include a number of factors. The most obvious will have to do with the condition of the driver. If he was fatigued, he may have been driving beyond federally mandated limits, and shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. The previous accident earlier in the morning may have indicated a problem with either the bus or the driver; that will have to be examined. Sometimes, the driver is not properly trained. Other times, tour bus companies put their bottom lines ahead of passenger safety and force drivers to their limits and beyond.
Quite often, bus accidents can result in major changes in the lives of the victims and their families, so investigators will have to uncover and examine all relevant facts. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a charter bus, please contact the Texas Bus Accident Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, so that we conduct a thorough investigation and help you protect your rights.