Driver in fatal bus crash sued in other wrecks

The damaged front of a tour bus is seen that crashed into the back of a semi-truck on Interstate 10 just north of the desert resort town of Palm Springs in Desert Hot Springs Calif. Sunday Oct. 23 2016. Several deaths and injuries were reported. (AP

The bus driver was among those killed and the truck driver was injured, California Highway Patrol Division Chief Jim Abele said.

The California Highway Patrol has said there was no indication that the driver, Teodulo Elias Vides, applied his brakes before hitting the truck that was going about 5 miles per hour because of utility work being done in the area.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which is expected to last about a week.

Thirteen people were killed when a bus smashed into the back of a truck that may have slowed for construction work on Interstate 10 north of Palm Springs Sunday morning. Then bus passengers who were asleep on the bus woke up to the sound of crushing metal and screams. The bus slammed into a big-rig truck on Sunday, killing 13 people, including the bus driver, and injuring another 31.

He says the bus was traveling much faster than the semi, and the impact was so strong, the bus went about 15 feet into the trailer.

USA Holiday employee told Julie Vides told the Daily News that her father, later identified as 59-year-old Teodulo Vides, was driving the bus, which was believed to have been slowing down before the crash.

The investigation remains in a very early stage, officials said today, adding that it's too early to say what caused the accident. He said it was not clear whether the bus was speeding, but said it was traveling "significantly faster" than the tractor-trailer.

The truck driver involved in the crash described his ordeal to a cab driver on his way to the hospital on Sunday.

The bus, which had 43 passengers, was on its way back from Red Earth Casino in the Salton Sea Beach and its driver was among those killed, Abele said.

Five critically injured passengers were transported to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. He told customers in Spanish as they returned to Los Angeles at sunrise from their weekend jaunts, "We've arrived at reality".

Many suffered facial injuries, a telltale sign they were not wearing seat belts, said Dr. Ricard Townsend, a trauma surgeon. The driver, Ophadell Williams, was accused of falling asleep at the wheel but was later found not guilty of manslaughter and negligent homicide. The plaintiffs in that case argued that the bus was driven negligently.

The region's only trauma center received 14 injured victims after a tour bus slammed into the back of semi-truck Sunday on Interstate 10.

USA Holiday regularly carries passengers from the Los Angeles area to Southern California casinos, and the company's Instagram page says it has been doing that for 25 years. Two of the deceased have been identified, but officials said they were waiting to release the identifications pending notification of their next of kin. Before she left her apartment in Los Angeles for the evening, Ruiz turned to her daughter and asked as she often would "do I look pretty?"

The bus was speeding at 78 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone when it struck a right-hand guardrail, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

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