Lawsuit Threatened in Casino-Bound Tour Bus Crash

55 people were hurt in Thursday's crash on the Foothill (210) Freeway in Irwindale

By Jason Kandel and Hetty Chang
|  Friday, Aug 23, 2013  |  Updated 9:43 PM PDT
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A Southern California lawyer said several families of the passengers injured in a tour bus rollover Thursday have reached out to him. While the CHP is investigating the cause of the of the crash, the attorney is considering several options in a lawsuit, including the tour company or the casino to which the passengers were headed. Hetty Chang reports from San Gabriel for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2013.

Hetty Chang

A Southern California lawyer said several families of the passengers injured in a tour bus rollover Thursday have reached out to him. While the CHP is investigating the cause of the of the crash, the attorney is considering several options in a lawsuit, including the tour company or the casino to which the passengers were headed. Hetty Chang reports from San Gabriel for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2013.

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Bus Company in Fwy Crash Had Safety Violations

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A lawyer who's been contacted by several family members of tour bus passengers injured in a crash on a Southern California freeway said legal action is imminent in connection with the incident.

"They thought it was a reputable travel company," attorney Daniel Deng said. For "this to happen comes as a shock."

Deng said he’s been contacted by several families of passengers injured in the Thursday morning crash on the Foothill (210) Freeway near the San Gabriel (605) Freeway, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles in Irwindale, Calif.

Some 52 passengers were injured when the driver made "an unsafe lane change" and struck a car before overturning in a ditch, the CHP said. Three other people in other vehicles were also injured. None of the injuries were life threatening. The bus driver was not charged.

The bus, a 2003 Van Hool, was operated by Da Zhen Travel Agency out of Monterey Park. It was headed to a Southern California casino for the day.

Deng is working out the details of litigation, including who is to blame.

"We need look into the bus driver, the tour company and even the casino," Deng said. "Because the casino, this way, they know they have incentive for the bus driver to make many trips."

Calls placed to Da Zhen were not returned.

Bus companies have an incentive, Deng said, to make as many trips a day as possible because companies earn money based on how many heads they bring into casinos, Deng said.

In some cases, the companies even pay bus riders -- waiving the nominal bus fees -- to get them in the door, he said.

“They’re all trying to make two or three trips so they could bus enough people to go there many times,” he said.

In some cases, bus companies give passengers vouchers for food and drinks, Deng said.

Like other companies, Da Zhen makes more than a dozen trips a day to casinos in Southern California and Las Vegas.

Deng said casino tours are popular among Chinese seniors because they're taken care of for the entire day. Most of the passengers were senior citizens.

The first lawsuit could be filed in a few weeks, according to Deng's office manager.

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