Illegal Tour Bus Involved in Deadly Arizona Crash
On March 5, 2010, six Mexican citizens died when the bus they were traveling in crashed on Interstate 10 near Casa Grande, Arizona, about 30 miles southeast of Phoenix. Sixteen other passengers were injured in the crash, as were both the driver and back-up driver of the bus. As of March 10, half of the injured passengers have been released from the hospital and one-fourth are in stable condition. The other four passengers are in critical or serious condition. Some of the more serious injuries include broken pelvises and ribs, and head and spinal injuries.
The bus was on its way to Phoenix when it hit a pickup truck, swerved and then rolled as it overcorrected. As often happens in vehicle rollovers, the roof of the bus collapsed on impact with the ground. Roof crushes are a serious and often fatal incident of rollover accidents.
Another collision was caused by this accident as well, when another pickup truck which had slowed down in light of the accident was struck by an automobile. This accident yielded serious injuries as well, but no fatalities have been reported at this time.
Bus Was Operating Illegally
The driver and the bus have both been found to be in violation of several safety regulations so serious that neither one should have been in service at the time of the accident. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau, the driver and the bus should have both been taken out of service due to the following:
- The driver was not able to read and speak English sufficiently
- Neither the driver nor the co-driver had a required prior seven-days record of duty status
- The bus had an unacceptable number of defective brakes
The carrier was Tierra Santa, Inc., a company operating out of Van Nuys, California. Tierra Santa has not been authorized to operate in the U.S. since April of 2009, due to not having required insurance. The company also had a history of safety violations and failed bus inspections, including having drivers employed who were not authorized to operate their buses. This is the second bus crash in the past two years for this company.
Bus Accidents Require Experienced Legal Counsel
Magaña, Cathcart & McCarthy (MCM) has represented victims of bus crashes and other major accidents for over 60 years. The firm represented a passenger against Greyhound in another bus accident which occurred in Arizona in 2001, also on the I-10 about 45 miles south of the Casa Grande crash. In the case, a crazed passenger assaulted the driver of the bus, causing the bus to roll over as the two fought for control of the steering wheel. Thirty-three people were injured in that accident, and MCM represented a passenger who was thrown from the bus during the incident.
The attorneys and staff at MCM express their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in this most-recent bus tragedy, and wish a full and speedy recovery to the injured passengers and driver.