Four people were killed and nearly 24 people were injured in a bus accident in Merced County on Tuesday, Aug. 2. The charter bus was heading to Sacramento when it crashed into a freeway sign pole on Highway 99.
According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), the accident happened just after 3:30 a.m. The bus was traveling north on Highway 99 near Liberty Avenue in Livingston when it collided with the pole that sliced through the middle of the bus for nearly half the length of the vehicle. The right side of the vehicle sustained most of the damage as the pole pushed through the right row of seats.
Of the 30 passengers on board, four people were killed and dozens of others were injured. According to reports, six people who suffered serious injuries were airlifted to local hospitals and at least 15 others were taken by ambulance. Injuries have been reported to include neck and head injuries and amputations.
The bus, registered to Autobuses Coordinados USA Inc., was traveling from Mexico to Washington State with stops in Los Angeles, Livingston and Sacramento.
According to federal records, this was the first “reportable crash” for the Southern California bus company. However, in January 2015, the company was fined $3,200 for failing to ensure the safety of the vehicles’ parts.
Since 2014, the company has received 23 vehicle maintenance violations from federal inspectors. Eight were so severe inspectors pulled the buses from service. Three of those violations were for brake issues.
The bus involved in Tuesday’s accident was last inspected in April of this year when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that the bus had “no or defective brake warning device,” which means it did not have a properly functioning brake light.
Two months earlier, in February, the same bus was pulled from service in Oregon because the driver was driving with a suspended license. It remains unknown if the same driver was driving the bus on Tuesday. The company has eight drivers listed with federal regulators.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
The charter bus accident lawyers at The Arnold Law Firm have decades of experience handling accidents that were the result of negligence on behalf of either a driver or bus company. If you were injured or lost a loved one in this type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact a personal injury attorney from our law firm today for a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a case.