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California Bus Crash Results in Numerous Injuries and Fatalities

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

A recent deadly bus crash in California has left at least seven people dead and dozens injured. The tour bus crashed on a mountain highway near Yucaipa when the driver lost control of the bus. It was returning to Mexico after a trip to a ski resort in the mountains of Southern California.

The California Highway Patrol continues to investigate the cause of the accident, so it is unknown if the surviving family members of the victims may have recourse by filing wrongful death claims. However, the company that operated the bus has been cited on numerous occasions for vehicle maintenance violations. According to the records of the federal Department of Transportation, the company's violations included multiple brake problems.

Safety inspectors have taken the company's tour buses out of service over the past two years on a higher than average rate. The company was also added to a safety watch list by the Department of Transportation due to the maintenance violations.

There are reports from witnesses that the brakes were smoking just prior to the fatal accident. One passenger said the brakes had failed as the bus went downhill at a high rate of speed on the highway. The bus hit a Saturn that was also traveling downhill. As it approached a turn in the road, the bus swerved into an oncoming lane where it struck a pickup truck.

The accident caused the bus to flip, throwing some of the passengers from the vehicle in the process. Authorities pronounced seven people dead at the scene. Nearly all the 30 passengers had some kind of injuries. More than 20 people had to be taken to hospitals. Three passengers in the Saturn suffered minor injuries, and the driver of the pickup truck suffered critical injuries.

Source: The New York Times, "Cause sought in bush crash that killed 7 in California," Ian Lovett, Feb. 4, 2013