A bus accident near Livingston, in Merced county (on Tuesday of this week) left 4 dead, after swerving off the road and crashing head-first into an exit sign pole. According to KGPE-TV, the incident happened just shy of 3am, by the Liberty Ave exit on Hwy 99-N. The white tour bus involved in the accident was in the middle of its journey from Mexico to Washington state, after having just finished its stop in Los Angeles and headed for Sacramento.
A few of the riders had suffered severe injuries, including lost limbs. 5 of the injured passengers were airlifted to nearby medical centers for emergency treatment. The true damage of the bus accident was caused by the exit sign pole that ripped the vehicle down the middle. According to Merced County Sheriff Verne Warnke, the bus struck the exit sign pole and it divided the bus “with a great impact” down to the front axle. Passengers trapped on the decimated tour bus were quickly attended to by rescue workers. Additionally, Warnke reported that other passengers had been ejected from the bus and into a ditch.
Some question remains as to the fault of the bus accident, as the Autobuses Coordinados USA driver was due to be relieved of his shift by a new driver in Livingston around 1:30am. The bus operator was positively identified as Mario David Vasquez, age 57, by the California Highway Patrol. Vasquez also suffered major injuries in the crash and was unavailable for comment, regarding the circumstances of the accident. Many of the bus accident survivors refused to do interviews after the crash, though they mostly only spoke Spanish. The authorities have yet to release any information regarding the additional passengers injured in the bus crash, though it has been confirmed that no other vehicles were involved.