More than two dozen people were injured and one person killed after a charter bus crossed over into oncoming traffic, hitting two passenger cars, on Highway 58 in the Mojave Desert on Monday, according to CHP.
The crash was reported at noon about 2 miles east of the junction with U.S. 395, near the unincorporated Kramer Junction area, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.
The bus, which was labeled “U-best holiday,” was traveling eastbound on State Route 58 when, “for reasons yet to be determined,” it crossed over the double-yellow line and struck two oncoming cars, California Highway Patrol Lt. Tony Pena said on scene.
So far, investigators do not suspect speed, alcohol or drugs, or weather, Pena said. They don’t know why the bus moved into oncoming lanes, Pena said.
One person in a white Subaru was declared dead on scene, and two other people, in a small white Chevrolet, were hospitalized in critical condition, San Bernardino County Fire Department spokesman Eric Sherwin said.
Everyone on the bus was hurt, with injuries ranging from minor to major, Sherwin said.
All three vehicles appeared to have overturned at least once, according to a statement from San Bernardino County Fire.
The bus, which had 26 people on board, was from Arcadia but was en route from Fresno, which it had left Monday morning, to Las Vegas, Pena said.
U.S. Department of Transportation records for the bus show it is registered to A & F Tours Inc. in West Covina, which has had no crashes in the last two years.
The injured were taken via eight ambulances to hospitals in Victorville, Loma Linda and San Bernardino. Because of bad weather, medical helicopters were not able to respond, Sherwin said. Nine patients had “immediate, life-threatening” injuries and 17 had “delayed” injuries, the lieutenant said.
One patient had to be cut out of one of the passenger cars, he added.
Ultimately, 26 people were transported to four different hospitals, firefighters said.
Video from the scene showed all the vehicles were essentially totaled. The front of the bus was destroyed.
The crash occurred near mile marker 7 in a fairly remote location between Barstow and Mojave. Sherwin indicated serious crashes are not unusual in the area.
“I wouldn’t say any incident involving a fatality is lucky. However, this is not an uncommon incident in these areas. To see only one fatality coming out of this, yes, we were fortunate,” Sherwin said.
Firefighters from Kern County, a nearby Marine Corps logistics base and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake arrived on scene to help.