Five people were killed and several others were injured in a charter bus accident in Merced County early morning on August 2, 2016. The Merced Sun Star reports that several people lost limbs in the horrific crash when a charter bus veered off Highway 99 and rammed into a freeway signage pole, which cut open the bus, ejecting passengers and seriously injuring many of them. Officials who responded to the scene say this is the worst crash they had seen in the last 10 years in the area.
Major Injuries and Fatalities
Officials are still looking into what caused the bus, registered to Los Angeles-based Autobuses Coordinados USA, Inc. to veer off the roadway and crash. Most passengers were fast asleep when the accident occurred. Six people sustained critical injuries and were airlifted to area hospitals. Five of those victims died. Many others were hospitalized. Officials said the bus looked like it had been ripped apart by a bomb. The injuries they saw were similar to a blast as well.
Body parts were scattered in the bus and fire officials walked through trying to pick up every body part they could find in order to be able to identify the deceased. First responders saw several people had been ejected and thrown into a ditch nearby. Many of the injured people had limbs that were partially or fully severed. The driver of the bus, 57-year-old Mario David Vasquez, was among those who suffered major injuries. He remains in critical condition.
Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this gruesome crash. We offer our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones and wish the survivors the very best for a speedy recovery.
What Caused This Crash?
There are of course many unanswered questions here. What caused the bus to go out of control? Did the driver fall asleep at the wheel? Did alcohol, drugs or distracted driving play a part? Did poor bus maintenance cause equipment failure or malfunction? According to the news report, an inspection conducted on April 28 in California showed the bus involved in this crash had been cited for three violations including having aisle seats that were not allowed and violations over parts, accessories and maintenance. We trust officials are conducting a thorough assessment to determine who or what caused this crash.
Justice for Victims and Families
We understand at this time that victims and their families must be undergoing unspeakable grief and turmoil. As California bus accident lawyers who have represented severely injured victims and families that have lost loved ones in such traumatic incidents, our advice is for victims and families to get the treatment and care they need at this time including grief counseling. Bus companies owe the highest duty of care to their passengers. This means that they have a duty to safely transport passengers. Injured victims and families of deceased victims may be entitled to significant compensation for their losses. An experienced bus accident lawyer will be able to offer them more information regarding their legal rights and options.