New details emerged about the company that operated a tour bus involved in one of Thursday’s fatal I-15 crashes, as well as the casino it was serving. Hetty Chang reports from Diamond Bar for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Dec. 20, 2013.
A 91-year old man on the tour bus that rolled over in Corona Thursday has died, the California Highway Patrol said on Friday.
He was identified as Khang Tien of Midway.
The two crashes have raised questions about safety on privately operated tour buses, and who is responsible for the passengers, who often pay a nominal fee of $15 - 20 to board the bus and receive casino vouchers to free play, food and drinks.
State and federal agencies regulate safety of bus companies, but there is no regulatory agency to ensure casinos check the safety records of the bus companies they hire.
Many casino websites, which list bus companies that provide trips to and from their casinos, have disclaimers noting the casinos do not operate the buses.
Attorney Ronald Goldman said casinos should have responsibility when it comes to the safety of the patrons being brought to them.
"They are paying for it," he said. "They are getting these charter bus companies to come and transport their passengers as a means of feeding their business. They have the responsibility to make sure they are doing it in a safe way."
The bus coming back from Pala Casino Thursday was operated by Sina Coach Tour Company, based in Walnut.
The company has not been involved in crash in at least the last two years, records show.
It has a vehicle maintenance rating of 42, which means 56 percent of bus companies have worse maintenance records, while 42 percent have better.
A spokesman with Pala Casino confirmed the private bus companies it works with are considered contractors, but would not comment further on the relationship nor would it comment on the procedures in place, if any, to ensure safety of the passengers on board.
It could take weeks for the California Highway Patrol to conclude its investigation into the accident in Corona.
The driver was traveling 65 mph, which was the posted speed limit, but too fast for the rainy conditions, the CHP said.