Tour Bus Crash in California Kills 13, Injures Over 30

By Allan M. Siegel.

In one of the deadliest wrecks in California history, 13 people were killed and at least 31 were injured when a tour bus crashed into a commercial truck early Sunday morning in Palm Springs. According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash occurred shortly after 5:00 am Sunday when the tour bus, en route to Los Angeles from a casino trip, collided into the back of a tractor-trailer. The bus driver was among the victims killed in the crash, and the truck driver suffered minor injuries.

Virginia Auto Accident LawyerLocal and federal officials investigating the crash stated it was unclear whether alcohol, drugs, or fatigue played a role in the crash. Although the cause has yet to be determined, some facts about the incident have been released, including:

  • At the time of the crash, authorities were slowing traffic as utility workers performed work across the freeway.
  • CHP officials report the bus was traveling much faster than the truck, which the tractor-trailer to enter roughly 15 feet into the bus itself.
  • The bus had passed a mechanical inspection in April without any issues. In the past two years, records show it had no crashes and had a satisfactory safety rating.
  • The 1996 bus did not have seatbelts. Officials also state that due to its age, it likely did not have a data recorder that could show how fast the tour bus was going and whether brakes were applied prior to impact.
  • The tour bus company, USA Holiday, operated one vehicle using one driver. It is believed to have been a small family-operated business.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are looking further into the crash. While they will focus on all aspects of the bus crash, officials have expressed concern over how fast the bus was traveling at the time of the crash. Given the fact that the tractor-trailer was traveling very slowly due to traffic and maintenance work, investigators will be looking for possible signs of driver inattention or fatigue, in addition to other potential causes.

Investigations following significant crashes are essential in determining what happened and whether similar tragedies can be prevented in the future. Our team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. hope the investigation can provide some closure for those involved, as well as the information needed to address important issues and improve transportation safety for everyone.