Fatal California bus crash is vehicle’s 2nd of day

REDDING, Calif. (AP) — A tour bus drifted off a Northern California interstate and crashed onto its roof, killing a 33-year-old man and injuring 30 others in the vehicle’s second collision in a day, authorities said.

The same bus struck a Denny’s restaurant earlier Sunday in Red Bluff, about 50 miles south, but no one was hurt, California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Borgen said.

The bus was en route from Los Angeles to Pasco, Washington, when it went off Interstate 5 around 7:30 a.m. about 100 miles south of the Oregon border, Borgen said. It rolled over and came to rest upside-down on a frontage road.

Police said the man who died was from the Fresno-area city of Parlier, but his name was being withheld until relatives could be notified.

Three patients were in critical condition, including one who was flown by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Mount Shasta with severe head injuries, hospital spokeswoman Joyce Zwanziger told the Sacramento Bee.

Three people were in serious condition at the same hospital’s Redding location, where most of the patients were taken, spokeswoman Heather Nichols said.

“We drill for this kind of thing,” Nichols told the Redding Record-Searchlight.

The two dozen others who were treated at hospitals had mostly minor injuries and were released.

Jose Victor Garcilazo, 67, of Los Angeles, drove the bus, a 1996 Vanhool. Investigators said evidence at both crash sites show that driver fatigue may have been a factor. They did not say whether drugs or alcohol may have been involved or whether any citations or charges were planned.

It wasn’t clear how much damage was done in the initial crash or why the bus continued on its trip. Red Bluff police, who investigated the first crash, had no additional information Sunday night.

The bus operator, Yellow Arrow LLC, is based in Othello, Washington. It has a current license and had no reported accidents in the past two years before Sunday, according to federal records.

No one answered several calls from The Associated Press to a telephone number for the company that was listed in the records.

The hospital was working with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to assist patients who had been released, many of whom were staying at a hospitality house run by the medical center.

“We’re just keeping them safe and comfortable,” Nichols said.

The crash was on the same freeway and about 90 miles away from a wreck in April involving another charter bus from Southern California, which collided with a FedEx tractor-trailer and killed 10 people. That bus was carrying high school students on a visit to Humboldt State University.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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