One woman is dead and 21 others were injured after a tour bus heading to Valley View Casino overturned on southbound Interstate 15 at State Route 76 near Fallbrook Thursday afternoon.
"When officers arrived, they found quite a chaotic scene, as you can imagine, with so many patients that were in the area," said Officer Jim Bettencourt with the California Highway Patrol.
According to CHP, the victim was a 64-year-old woman from Van Nuys. Officials said the victim, Tayde Murguia, died after being partially ejected from and trapped underneath the overturned tour bus.
The driver was a 56-year-old man from Compton, CHP said. As of Thursday night, officials had not released his name.
Of the 21 people injured, six people were seriously hurt, 14 suffered minor injuries, and one person refused treatment. The injured passengers were taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside and Fallbrook Hospital, according to CHP.
"My neck and head hurt, but nothing is broken," said passenger Elda Rodriguez as she waited in the emergency room at Palomar.
A passenger, who identified herself only as Maria, said she remembers very little of the accident.
"The bus flipped, and I ended up on the floor," she said. "My arm hurts, and my head is spinning."
The passengers are described as a mix of men and women between age 40 and 60, mostly from the Los Angeles area.
Palomar Hospital spokeswoman Bobette Brown said the people brought to Palomar had non-life-threatening injuries.
"They all in good shape," Brown said.
"An infusion of 12 patients for us is something we do every day at this time, so we were fully ready," she added. "It has not impacted our services much."
People left the hospital shortly after being treated. Patients were similarly released from Tri-City.
As of Friday morning, there were 6 patients still admitted at Tri-City and Palomar. All were expected to be released in the next few days.
"It is my understanding that nobody is critical. All the seven will be released tonight," spokesman David Bennett said. "Three are from the LA area. There is a possibility that one will be admitted to our hospital. We're not sure yet."
The bus is from Five Star Bus Charter out of Bell, a company that has been involved in other crashes.
According to federal safety records, Five Star Bus Charter operates just two buses and employs two drivers. Those buses were involved in two other accidents in the past two years. Federal records reveal one of those crashes resulted in an injury.
But as of Sept. 8, Five Star has a "satisfactory" safety rating from the federal Department of Transportation.
The company's corporate registration was suspended two weeks ago because it failed to pay taxes or penalties owed to the franchise tax board.
A representative of the company said she’s trying to get more information about Thursday’s fatal crash and declined to comment further.
A Sig Alert was issued after the crash, which blocked the right two lanes and backed up traffic for several hours. There was rain in that area, and CHP says slick roads could have been a factor in the crash.
The crash occurred around 2:30 p.m. No other vehicles were involved.
According to police, the driver said he was going approximately 55 mph when the bus began swerving. The driver lost control, and the bus flipped on its side. CHP does not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.
Also on Thursday, a tour bus crash in Corona shut down two lanes of freeway. According to CHP, no one was killed, but most of the 30 passengers suffered minor injuries.