Two California buses traveling to and from casinos crashed in separate accidents only about 50 miles apart on Thursday night. One woman was killed and dozens more were injured and sent to local hospitals.

Although news stations say that the weather was rainy, one of the bus companies also had a questionable record of safety.

Two Accidents; Same Night; 50 Miles Apart

The accident, on Dec. 19, involved buses operated by Five Star Bus Charter Inc. and Sina Coach. Here’s a quick overview on each bus accident:

  • Five Star Bus Charter.  According to the San Diego Union Tribune, a bus owned by Five Star Bus Charter, Inc. which was headed to the Valley View Casino from Los Angeles, crashed and overturned after it started to fishtail in rainy conditions on California’s Interstate 15 near Bonsall.

Although the driver tried to correct the problem, the bus spun around, veered to the right shoulder of the highway and flipped over on its left side just south of Route 76. The crash killed a 64-year-old Van Nuys woman who had been partially ejected from her seat and was trapped under the bus for nearly three hours.

Six of the 22 bus passengers were seriously hurt, 14 others suffered minor injuries and many were treated at local area hospitals including Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside and Fallbrook Hospital in Fallbrook.

The bus driver, a 56-year-old Compton resident, was also taken to the hospital, said he was traveling in the right hand lane of the highway and only going 55 mph. Although the crash is being attributed to rainy and slick conditions, the bus did not provide passengers with seatbelts.

  • Sina Coach. About 50 miles away, another bus owned by Sina Coach which was headed to Westminster after returning from the Pala Casino and Resort crashed on northbound I-15, according to the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch. The bus driver is being blamed for the crash that injured 23 passengers and forced a long term closure of the highway.

Duan was traveling at 65 mph in the same rainy conditions that was “an unsafe speed for roadway conditions, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officer Travis Monks. The CHP reported that bus driver was unable to maintain control of the bus on the wet roadway. The bus traveled off the roadway, into the center median area. [It] struck the center median guardrail and overturned onto its side, coming to rest blocking the [two] traffic lanes.

Twenty-two of the 35 passengers aboard the bus were taken to various local hospitals, but no one was fatally injured. Sina Coach has allegedly been cited twice in the past two years for violations for hiring non-English speaking drivers who cannot understand highway traffic signs.

Who’s Responsible for Bus Accident Injuries?

Bus accidents can cause serious injury and death as the above crashes show and can result in significant medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and loss of income. Passengers injured in bus accidents may not realize the severity of their injuries immediately after the accident. Bus companies are responsible for the safety of passengers and employing safe drivers.

If you’ve been injured in a bus accident, make sure that you speak with an experienced bus accident attorney who can determine if you might be entitled to compensation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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