Tour Bus Made "Unsafe Lane Change," Clipped Car Before Crash

A crash was reported after 10 a.m. on the 210 Freeway, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles

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    A preliminary investigation points to an unsafe lane change as the cause of Thursday’s tour bus wreck on the 210 Freeway. It may take months before investigators piece together exactly what caused the wreck that injured more than 50 passengers and shuttered a busy freeway for hours. Adrian Arambulo reports from Azusa for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23, 2013.

    The tour bus driver involved in a crash that injured dozens on a Southern California freeway made "an unsafe lane change" and struck a car before overturning in a ditch, the CHP said on Friday.

    The casino-bound bus clipped a Hyundai Elantra, then overcorrected to the right in the 10 a.m. crash on the Foothill (210) Freeway near the San Gabriel (605) Freeway about 20 miles east of Los Angeles in Irwindale, Calif., said California Highway Patrol Officer Elizabeth Van Valkenburgh.

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    After closing down the freeway for hours, an overturned tour bus carrying senior passengers en route to a casino was flipped upright and hauled away to be investigated. Kathy Vara reports from Highland for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2013.

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    The bus driver, Jinquan Yang, 55, of Alhambra, was properly licensed and was not charged in the crash, the CHP said. The driver of the Elantra was not injured.

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    The son of a passenger hurt when a tour bus en route to a casino overturned on the 210 Freeway says his mother and others were nervous before the crash. Hetty Chang has exclusive details on the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2013.

    At least 50 people were injured when the casino-bound tour bus skidded through a chain-link fence and down a dirt embankment, where it came to a rest on its right between the freeway and railroad tracks.

    A large contingent of emergency responders converged with firefighters tending to people on green, yellow and red triage tarps. The color-coded tarps indicate severity of injuries, with red being the most severe.

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    Rescue helicopters landed on the 210 Freeway to airlift tour bus passengers requiring immediate medical assistance after the bus crashed and overturned. Two riders have been moved to a critical care unit. Hetty Chang reports from Lincoln Heights for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2013.

    Of the 55 injured, 52 were bus passengers. The other three people injured were from other vehicles that were involved in the collision.

    A majority of the injuries were minor. Some were moderate and a few suffered major injuries. All were adults, ages 60 to 80.

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    A traffic mess created by a tour bus crash in Irwindale on Thursday led some stranded drivers to get out of their cars and walk along the 210 Freeway. Many drivers were forced to shut off their vehicles and roll down their windows to try to escape the heat while others posted on social media warning others not to take the slow-moving highway. Adrian Arambulo reports from Irwindale for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2013.

    The crash shut down eastbound lanes for hours.

    The 2003 Van Hool bus was operated by Da Zhen Travel Agency out of Monterey Park.

    It was headed to the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, about 40 miles away from the scene of the crash.

    Da Zhen received a “satisfactory” rating during its last major review by federal inspectors, in 2010, according to U.S. Department of Transportation records.

    Those records report that in the past two years, the company had no crashes among its nine buses. Two of its buses were cited for speeding in Arizona in February, while another was cited for “following too close” in May in Nevada.

    Overall, the buses performed relatively well in mechanical inspections, failing just two of 30 over the past two years, according to the records. That 7 percent rate was significantly below the national average.

    A schedule provided by the casino shows that Da Zhen runs 14 trips each day to San Manuel from various cities in Los Angeles County.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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