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.
NBC4 I-Team: Tour Bus Company Had Mutiple Safety Violations
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.
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.
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.
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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