The thought of being involved in a fatal accident can make us all think twice about traveling, especially when there is someone other than ourselves behind the wheel.
But sometimes placing our lives in hands of others is a risk we take, as it was for the individuals who were traveling on a tour bus from Los Angeles to the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, California. The tour bus was full of dozens of passengers heading back home from an overnight trip to the casino on Sunday, October 23rd; little did they know, this would be their last trip.
Sadly, at around 5 a.m. PDT, the tour bus, driven by Teodulo Elias Vides, was involved in one of the deadliest accidents in California in recent years. Vides, along with 12 other passengers, was killed, and 31 others suffered minor to serious injuries.
California has been home to some of the worst accidents in history. One of the deadliest collisions occurred back in 1963, when a freight train hit a truck that was carrying migrant workers, killing 32 and injuring 25.
Other incidents have included a FedEx truck striking a bus carrying high school students, in which 10 passengers were killed, and another where a bus was split in half after it struck a sign post, killing 5.
The cause of this most recent accident has yet to be discovered, but there are numerous concerns that the driver may have not used his brakes in time to avoid the collision.
According to California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele, “There were no skid marks from the bus at the time of the collision, the only skid marks were directly related to the big rig as it got pushed forward.”
During the investigation, factors such as records of both drivers, accident history, and level of training will be carefully investigated. It is still too early to determine if alcohol, speed, distraction or fatigue played a role.
The front of the bus took the greatest damage and this is where many of those who lost their lives were sitting. Authorities have reported that passengers were not restrained, thus causing many of the injuries and fatalities.
According to reports, the tour bus had gone through an inspection in April, and had also been inspected in 2014 and 2015. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Registration showed the tour bus was free of any accidents over the past two years and had a satisfactory safety rating.
Although the tour bus had not failed an inspection since 2010, further investigation showed that the tires were worn down well below federal standards.
Additionally, Vides, the tour bus driver, had been sued for negligence twice prior to October’s collision. USA Holiday, of which he was a partial owner, had received at least 6 unsatisfactory ratings from the California Highway Patrol. Federal and state regulations on buses are quite identical, but the state requires more frequent “self inspections”
A team from the National Transportation Safety Board will further conduct investigation to determine the cause of the crash. It can take up to one year for the caused to be determined.
The Garcia Law Group is here for you when tragedy strikes.
As we learn about such tragic news, it is important for us to know what our options are. There is nothing that can ever replace a loved one, but receiving justice can aid in the grieving and healing process. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or affected by the loss of life because of the negligence of another driver, contact a lawyer immediately.
At the Garcia Law Group we know it can be devastating having to deal with these circumstances, but if you feel that filing suit is the right choice, we are here for you.