Thirteen people were killed and 31 injured when a tour bus slammed into a semi in Palm Springs, California, on Sunday morning — and the death toll could have been higher if the truck driver involved hadn’t helped pull some of the crash victims to safety.
Tour Bus Failed To Stop For Slow Traffic
The crash happened yesterday around 5 a.m. on westbound I-10 near Desert Hot Springs. Traffic in the area had slowed for a maintenance crew.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the USA Holiday tour bus was traveling “significantly faster” than the semi when it crashed, demolishing the front of the bus and shredding the trailer of the semi. CHP stated, “The speed of the bus was so significant that the trailer itself entered about 15 feet into the bus … You can see it was a substantial impact.”
Tragic couple of weeks in Palm Springs. Horrific, actually. https://t.co/VZLEti67Co
— Andrew John (@Andrew_L_John) October 24, 2016
Of the forty four people on the tour bus, thirteen were killed, including the bus driver. Another 31 people were injured. Many of the injured suffered facial trauma as they were not restrained in the bus. The truck driver also suffered minor injuries in the crash.
CHP & NTSB Investigating Crash
CHP is still investigating the cause of the crash, but they say that it does not appear that the bus driver slammed on the brakes before the crash. Driver fatigue, a medical emergency, and drugs or alcohol, are all being investigated as possible causes for the deadly crash. CHP notes, “We may not determine how the accident occurred because the driver was killed.”
The National Transportation Safety Board will be joining the investigation.
The tour bus passed inspection in April 2016.
Injured Trucker Helps Crash Victims
The trucker who was hit by the bus described the horrific experience: “The impact just, you know, hit me from behind and I just blacked out for a minute and when I gained my consciousness, I undid my seatbelt and looked around. Thought I got ran over by something. That’s when I got out of my truck.”
The injured driver said that in spite of his wounds, he knew he had to try to help: “You got to think about others. I’m going to be alright. I want to get them safe. I don’t know if the bus is going to blow up.”
He said, ““I’m blessed to be alive and I pray for the families that didn’t make it.”