Tour bus crashes into big rig in Desert Hot Springs; 11 reported killed, 30 others injured – Los Angeles Times
Nearly a dozen people were killed and 30 others were injured Sunday morning when a tour bus collided with a big-rig truck on the Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, according to officials and published reports.
A California Highway Patrol official confirmed the crash but could not immediately provide more details.
The Desert Sun reported that 11 people were killed. Hospital officials confirmed that 30 people were transported to three local hospitals.
Late Sunday morning, bodies were covered with blankets on the side of the freeway. The front of the tour bus was crumpled inward and completely destroyed, as was the back of the truck trailer.
Shortly after the wreck, which was reported after 6 a.m., firefighters used ladders to climb into the back of the bus to search for passengers and victims.
More than three dozen people were on the bus, which may have been returning from the Red Earth Casino near the Salton Sea, the Desert Sun reported.
Desert Regional Medical Center, which has the Coachella Valley’s only trauma center, received 14 adult patients, including five who were in critical condition, said public information officer Richard Ramhoff.
Eisenhower Medical Center received 11 adult patients, all with minor injuries, said public information officer Lee Rice.
John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital received five adult patients with minor injuries, including neck strain and cuts and abrasions, said nursing supervisor Stephen Williams.
The bus was operated by USA Holiday, an Alhambra-based company that owns one bus and employs one driver, according to federal records.
A woman who answered the phone at USA Holiday told The Times that she was the daughter of the company’s owners. She said she did not know how many people had been killed or whether the driver survived.
In the last several months, USA Holiday has used Facebook and Instagram to advertise trips from Koreatown, the San Fernando Valley and Southeast Los Angeles to casinos across Southern California.
In one Instagram post, USA Holiday advertised a $20 bus fare from Koreatown to the Red Earth Casino, leaving at 8:30 p.m. three days per week. Passengers could stay at the casino for four and a half hours and return to the L.A. area by the early morning.
According to FreightConnect, a private data provider, USA Holiday was last inspected by federal transportation officials in April of last year and received a satisfactory rating. No issues with the coach or driver were reported.
The company drove 68,780 miles in 2015, the most recent data available, federal records indicate.
The Desert Sun reported that the bus driver was one of the company’s owners.
All westbound traffic on the 10 has been diverted to local roads, the CHP said.
10:50 a.m. This story was updated to include details on patients transported to local hospitals.
10:30 a.m. This story was updated to include an interview with a USA Holiday representative.
10:12 a.m. This story was updated to include details on the crash location, the bus company’s previous trips, and more details from the scene.
9:51 a.m. This story was updated to include more details from the scene and information on the tour bus company.
9:40 a.m. This story was updated with a higher fatality count and descriptions from the scene of the crash.
This story was originally published at 8:40 a.m.