A San Diego County woman has been identified as one of the four fatalities in a bus crash that occurred near the Arizona border, according to recent reports. Two men and two women were killed when the tour bus crashed on Interstate 10 near the town of Blythe.
According to authorities, the four dead were Pablo Ramirez, 67, of Pico Rivera; Angel Hernandez, 49, of Hacienda Heights; Luz Rivera, 44, of Compton and Jessica Garcia, 30, of Chula Vista.
The tour bus in which they were riding, operated by VG Transport of Rialto, apparently struck some metal pipes that had been dropped into the road by a jackknifed truck. The bus slid down the embankment and overturned, but both drivers as well as the other passengers survived. Seven people were said to be seriously injured.
The bus was making a trip from El Paso, Texas, to Los Angeles. California Highway Patrol reported that the driver of the truck was attempting to pass slower vehicles when he drifted onto the shoulder and lost control of his own vehicle. The speed limit in this area is 70 miles per hour. There are no lights on this part of the interstate, so the pipes could have been very difficult to spot on the road. Two other cars also struck the pipes around the same time, although there were no injuries from those crashes.
VG Transport has not been involved in any crashes in the past two years, according to state records. The tour was operated by El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express Inc.
According to statistics from the American Automobile Association or AAA, in 2010 there were 34 motor coach accidents resulting in 46 fatalities and 363 injuries. This number was cut almost in half when compared to the preceding five years; 70 people died in bus accidents in 2005.
Ejections account for about 78 percent of all fatalities in rollover bus crashes. For this reason, experts advice those who ride in buses to use available safety restraints to prevent being thrown from the bus in the event of a crash.
Questions of liability can be difficult in the case of tour bus crashes. Often the tour is operated by one company while the bus is owned by another. Further, the driver of the tour bus may have committed some error in judgment that resulted in the crash or another driver altogether could be responsible.
If you have been the victim of a bus crash, contact Daniel M. Gilleon, a personal injury attorney in San Diego, to learn more about how you can protect your rights and recover damages in your case.