One person was killed and dozens more injured during a tour bus crash on Sunday. In Northern California, a tour bus overturned while traveling from Los Angeles, California, to Pasco, Washington.
A 33-year-old man was killed in the accident. The Fresno-Tulare County man has not been named because his relatives have not been notified. Dozens of other passengers were injured, with six of them sustaining serious injuries. The others were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.
Earlier in the day, the bus had been in another accident, although minor. No injuries were reported in the first incident which involved the tour bus crashing into a Denny’s restaurant in Red Bluff, California. It is unclear why the tour bus continued on with the trip after the initial accident.
The second accident that involved the fatality occurred approximately 100 miles south of the Oregon border at about 8:30 a.m. just off Interstate 5, according to the California Highway Patrol. During this occurrence, twenty-six tour bus riders were taken to area hospitals where most were treated for minor injuries and released. However, six riders sustained serious injuries with three people remaining in serious condition.
An initial investigation shows evidence at both crash sites leading investigators to believe that driver fatigue may have been a factor in the accident. Jose Victor Garcilazo has been identified as the driver of the tour bus. He is 67-years-old and resides in Los Angeles. It is unknown whether drugs and/or alcohol were involved. Yellow Arrow LLC, the Othello, Washington based bus operator, has a current license according to federal records and has had no reported accidents in the past two years.
The Salvation Army and the Red Cross are assisting patients who have been released. Many of these patients are staying at a hospitality house which is run by the medical center.
Driver Fatigue: A Deadly Problem
The California Highway Patrol took this unfortunate opportunity to remind all drivers that driving while fatigued is extremely dangerous. According to the CHP statement, “Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but don’t realize that driving while fatigued can be just as fatal as driving under the influence.” While the problem of drowsy driving may not be as prevalent as drunk driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2.5 percent of fatal crashes and 2 percent of injury crashes involve drowsy driving. These estimates are considered conservative, however. A more aggressive and probably realistic estimate suggests that 5,000 or 6,000 fatal crashes may be caused by drowsy drivers each year.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Loved Ones?
If you have been injured in a tour bus accident or by a drowsy driver, contact an injury attorney in your area. The importance of having a reliable, trustworthy injury attorney on your side may mean the difference between your medical bills being paid by a third party or you paying them from your savings. If a driver has been negligent and caused you or a family member injury or death, an injury attorney can handle the unpleasant details involved with a lawsuit. Contact an injury attorney immediately for your peace of mind.