Unsafe Speed in Rainy Conditions May Have Contributed to Tour Bus Crash - NBC Southern California
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Unsafe Speed in Rainy Conditions May Have Contributed to Tour Bus Crash

Some 24 people were hurt when a bus on a casino tour crashed before 3 p.m. on the Ontario Freeway in Corona

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    Tour Bus in Crash Had History of Safety Problems

    After two tour buses crashed along the same stretch of the 15 Freeway, the NBC4 I-Team dug into their safety records and found one of the buses was taken off the road last year and the other was recently involved in another crash. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2013. (Published Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013)

    Unsafe speeds in rainy conditions may have contributed to the casino bus crash that injured 22 and shut a stretch of Southern California highway for hours, the CHP said.

    The roads were wet when the crash happened before 3 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Ontario (15) Freeway at Magnolia Avenue in Corona, officials said.

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    The driver of the Sina Coach bus, Jian Fei Duan, 35, of Baldwin Park, was traveling about 65 mph, too fast for the conditions, said California Highway Patrol Officer Travis Monks, a department spokesman.

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    Two seemingly unrelated bus crashes in Corona and Fallbrook left one person dead and dozens more injured on Thursday. The two crashes occurred within 30 minutes of each other and caused traffic back-ups for miles. NBC4's Alex Calder reports from Newschopper 4 above Corona for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2013.
    (Published Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013)

    The bus struck the center median guardrail and tipped onto its side, blocking two lanes of traffic, Monks said.

    All of the passengers were taken to hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to moderate. The driver suffered minor injuries.

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    Federal bus safety regulators have shut down 52 companies in what they describe as a major nationwide crackdown, Joel Grover reports. A version of this report aired during the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2013.
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    All lanes of traffic were reopened shortly after 8 p.m., according to CHP.

    The Corona crash happened within 30 minutes of another crash on the same stretch of freeway involving a different bus from a casino in Temecula. That crash left a 64-year-old Glendale woman dead and 21 injured.

    The bus that crashed in Corona was returning from the Pala Casino on the Pala Indian Reservation near San Diego, headed back to Westminster, Corona Fire Chief John Medina said.

    CHP Raids Tour Bus Company for Allegedly Overworking Drivers

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    The California Highway Patrol on Tuesday raided the offices of a large LA-area tour bus company, in direct response to an NBC4 I-Team Investigation. CHP investigators showed up at San Gabriel office of Double Hi Express to seize records, and at the same time another CHP team made a surprise visit to a Pomona bus yard to inspect the company's buses. This comes in the wake of NBC4 sharing with the CHP the latest findings of an ongoing investigation into unsafe tour buses. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.
    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013)

    The passengers were mostly Vietnamese, a dispatcher for the company said.

    One passenger who did not want to be identified told NBC4 that moments before the crash, the bus began swerving back and forth and then, suddenly, it turned over. She said she hit a railing on the bus and was taken a hospital with pain in her stomach and lower back.

    That passenger was home Thursday night and so were her friends traveling with her who were also taken to hospitals. She said none of them were wearing seatbelts.

    The company had no crashes in the previous two years, according to November 2013 data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. But the company has been cited for speeding, bad brakes, bald tires, and operating without a periodic inspection.

    Eight vehicles have been pulled out of service in the last two years, data shows.

    The company has 26 buses and 25 drivers.

    NBC4's Joel Grover reported last week in an I-Team investigation about the long hours bus drivers log, putting passengers -- and the motoring public -- at risk.

    This is not the first time a casino tour bus crashed in the Pala area.

    In September, a casino tour bus headed from Los Angeles to the Casino Pauma crashed into a guardrail after the brakes failed. Ten of the 18 passengers were hospitalized.

    Pala has 2,000 slots, 87 table games, 10 restaurants, a 10,000-square-foot day spa, and four entertainment venues. The hotel has 507 rooms and 82 suites.

    NBC4's Chris Henao, Joel Grover, Hetty Chang and Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

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