Bus accident in Desert Hot Springs kills 13 and injures 31

A horrific bus accident in southern California that left 13 dead and more than 30 injured is being blamed on a driver who failed to brake, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The bus accident – which took placed in Desert Hot Springs, Calif. shortly after 5 a.m. on Sunday morning – occurred when the bus struck the rear of a tractor-trailer on the highway. According to preliminary reports, the bus was traveling so fast when it struck the truck that it came to rest 15 feet inside the rig.

Investigators and witnesses described a scene of carnage after the collision, with most of the dead killed in their seats from the force of the impact. It was unclear in the immediate aftermath of the crash whether any of the victims were wearing seatbelts – or whether the bus was even equipped with them. By mid-afternoon Sunday, rescue crews were using a large crane to sort through the wreckage.

The bus was returning to Los Angeles from a trip to the Red Earth Casino near the Salton Sea. The passengers, 10 women and two men, were all Hispanic and ranged in age from 53 to 72. All apparently frequented the bus, which could be hailed on street corners in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood, for trips to the casino.

According to officials with the California Highway Patrol, the bus had been inspected in April and had been found compliant with state and federal laws. However, the Los Angeles Times reported that the bus driver – who was killed in the bus accident – had several blemishes on his safety record.

The truck driver, who told authorities he was unaware of the fast oncoming bus until it struck his vehicle, was injured in the crash. He was taken to a local hospital, one of three facilities in the area that treated crash victims.

Under federal and state law, the bus accident will be investigated by the California Highway Patrol and the National Transportation Safety Board. Investigators will pay particularly close attention to whether any faults in the way the bus was designed or operating contributed to the crash.

If you, or a loved one, have been involved in a bus accident it is important that you retain legal representation. Contact Penney and Associates for a free consultation regarding your situation.

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