In the early hours of Sunday morning, tragedy struck just outside Palm Springs. At 5:17 a.m., a tour bus shuttling riders back from a Casino collided with a tractor-trailer on I-10 West, leaving 13 people dead and another 31 injured.
According to California Highway Patrol Division Chief Jim Abele, the bus was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck the back of the big rig. In fact, it hit with enough force that the front of the bus was crumpled inward nearly 15 feet.
Sources at the scene say that most of those killed were toward the front of the bus, where the impact was greatest. Harrowing first hand accounts from survivors tell a gruesome story.
All -in-all, ten men and three women were killed and many of the 31 injured passengers were taken to the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage and Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, CA.
The cause of the crash, the deadliest California bus crash in several decades, is under investigation at the Federal and Local level. Investigators will attempt to discover if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, had a heart attack or simply fell asleep.
What Do We Know?
The bus was returning from a trip to Red Earth Casino in Thermal / Salton Sea Beach, CA and was operated by Los Angeles-based USA Holiday bus company. Federal records show that USA Holiday only owns one bus and it’s business office is located in Alhambra. Through their Facebook page, the company advertised casino, tour, and sightseeing trips, out of Bell Gardens, Koreatown, and Panorama City.
The 1996 MCI bus had been inspected in April and had no mechanical issues, however CHP Chief Abele said that it did not appear to be equipped with passenger seat belts. This is important as later model bus may have been – 80 percent of new highway coaches are manufactured with seat belts.
As the passengers were unrestrained (read, not wearing seatbelt), they were thrown through the air and into the back of other seats, leading to significant facial trauma,broken bones.
When a tragedy of this magnitude occurs, those who were seriously injured or tragically lost loved ones are left picking up pieces of shattered lives. The last thing those affected by the USA Holiday bus crash need is to have to deal with an insurance company. During this time, Panish Shea & Boyle want to help. Our attorneys can handle the insurance company, help with medical bills and answer any questions you may have. If you or a loved one were involved in the USA Holiday bus crash on I-10, call our firm today. There is no obligation and the consultation is absolutely free. 1-877-800-1700