Local News

Death Toll in Tour Bus Crash Raised to 8

YUCAIPA, Calif. (KTLA) — The death toll in a tour bus crash on State Route 38 in San Bernardino County has risen to eight, authorities confirmed.

Mentone Fatal Tour Bus CrashThe latest victim is 72-year-old Fred Richardson, of San Bernardino. He passed away just after 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at Loma Linda Hospital.

Richardson was the driver of the pickup truck that was smashed underneath the bus.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday near Yucaipa, as the bus was descending from Big Bear.

It clipped a small Saturn sedan before it veered into oncoming traffic and began to roll, crushing a Ford pickup before coming to rest.

Passengers who were not wearing seat belts were tossed from the bus. Backpacks, clothing and body parts were strewn across the crash site.

All of the other victims who were killed were on the bus. Three people who were in the sedan escaped serious injury.

The tour bus was under contract with InterBus Tours and Charters, based in Tijuana.

It left the border town on Sunday morning for the day trip to Big Bear with 38 passengers, including children. Dozens of people remain hospitalized with injuries ranging in severity.

Federal officials spent Tuesday scouring the office of the company that owned the bus, Scapadas Magicas, of National City, the Los Angeles Times reports.

They interviewed the owner and took maintenance records as part of their investigation.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the California Highway Patrol are also now combing through the wreckage.

The CHP said that all major parts, including the brakes, engine components, steering, driver controls and suspension components will be carefully inspected.

Federal records show that Scapadas Magicas has received 18 safety and maintenance violations, including deficient brakes, since October 2011.

The safety violations resulted in the company being placed on a federal watch list flagging its buses for increased roadside inspections.

CHP officials said their inspection will take several days. The results of the investigation into the cause of the crash could take months.

There are some questions about the location of Scapadas Magicas, which also parks buses in Tijuana.

But California Highway Patrol officials told the Times that inspection standards are the same for every bus, regardless of its origin.

If a company has a bus terminal in California, all buses assigned to that terminal are subject to an annual inspection by the CHP.

However, buses coming across the border are not treated the same as other commercial vehicles.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, every tractor-trailer coming into the U.S. from Mexico is required to be inspected, but buses are not.