Multiple fatalities were reported from a collision between a bus and an 18-wheeler early Sunday morning. 13 people were killed and 31 injured when a tour bus collided into the back of the large truck on west-bound Interstate 10.
The collision was so forceful that the bus went about 15 feet into the back of the trailer. The collision injured the truck driver and killed the bus driver. The tour bus was returning to Los Angeles from a casino. At the time of the crash, most of the passengers were reportedly asleep. Most of those killed were sitting in the front of the bus.
At this time it is not known what exactly caused the wreck. According to inspection records, the bus had been inspected annually, and as recently as this past April, with no mechanical problems reported. Weather conditions were stated as being normal. Investigators stated that the bus was traveling much faster than the 18-wheeler when the two collided. Traffic had reportedly slowed at this particular section of road due to maintenance work being done.
The sheer number of injuries caused authorities to shut down the entire highway and establish an emergency triage on site. The injured were transported to three area hospitals. 5 of the injured were in intensive care, but were reported as being in stable condition. Most of the injured were treated for facial injuries, a typical sign that they were not wearing seat belts. Dr. Ricard Townsend, a trauma surgeon interviewed by the Associated Press, said “it seemed as though most of the victims were unrestrained and were therefore flown through the air and ended up sustaining facial trauma.” Several of the victims were treated for spinal fractures, but other than those there were reportedly few other bone injuries.
I-10 was shut down for about 8 hours before police reopened it. The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the accident further, according to the Board spokesman.