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New Findings in California Tour Bus Crash

tour busWorn tires have been discovered on the tour bus that killed 13 and injured 31 passengers near Palm Springs last weekend. Investigators are reporting that the treads on four of the eight tires on the bus were below government standards and so worn the bus could have been taken out of service. While the finding has been reported, investigators are quick to say that it is too soon to determine whether the worn tires played any role in the tragic crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which launched a federal investigation into the cause of the crash on Monday, made the announcement about the tires. Spokespersons for the board said that the next step in the investigation will be to study the driving histories for the drivers of both the bus and the truck that the bus collided with. Investigators also plan to spend more time examining the bus interior in search of clues.

10 Freeway bus accident details

The bus crash occurred on 10 Freeway around 5:15 a.m. on the morning of October 23. The bus was returning to Los Angeles from a casino in Thermal, where passengers had spent a number of hours gambling. Many were asleep on the bus at the time of the crash.

Traffic was moving slowly on the highway at the time of the accident, due to repairs on electrical lines around the road. The semi-truck in front of the tour bus was only traveling about five miles per hour when the bus slammed into the truck’s back end. The front third of the bus cabin was completely crushed and most of the passengers that died in the crash were sitting in the front seats. The driver of the bus, 59-year-old Teodulo Vides, was also killed in the crash.

Investigators said that based on the impact of the crash, the bus must have been traveling much faster than the truck when the two collided. There were also clues to suggest Vides did not apply the brakes prior to the collision. However, investigators warned that it was too early to know for sure if Vides was speeding at the time of the bus accident.

NTSB investigation ongoing

NTSB investigators will be looking into what Vides was doing in the hours while the bus was parked at the casino. They are also hoping an autopsy might reveal whether Vides had used any substances during that time or whether he might have fallen asleep or had a heart attack just prior to the accident.

It has been determined that Vides had a valid commercial driver’s license and a clean driving record in recent years. Records also show that Vides was the owner of the tour bus company, USA Holiday and was currently listed as the only driver for the company. The bus had passed annual inspections, although the company did have previous unsatisfactory ratings on several levels, including one unsatisfactory rating that involved “controlled substance and alcohol testing results” for an unnamed driver. There had been no negative ratings since 2010, however.

Deadly crashes in LA

This recent bus crash is one of the deadliest California roadways had seen in decades. California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele told local media, “In almost 35 years, I’ve never been to a crash where there’s been 13 confirmed fatals. It’s tough…you never get used to this.”

The personal injury attorneys at Ellis Law continues to monitor developments in this devastating crash, and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. For more than 20 years, our legal team has represented Los Angeles residents in actions arising from negligent and reckless driving. Our offices can be reached at 1-800-INJURED, and initial consultations are always free.