11 of 13 killed in Southern California bus crash identified

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California authorities have identified 11 of the 13 people killed when a tour bus returning to Los Angeles from a casino trip slammed into the back of a semi-truck on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs.

California authorities have identified 11 of the 13 people killed when a tour bus returning to Los Angeles from a casino trip slammed into the back of a semi-truck on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs on Sunday morning.

The office of the Riverside County sheriff-coroner named nine women between the ages of 52 and 72, a 62-year-old man, and the bus owner-driver, 59-year-old Teodulo Vides of Los Angeles.

Of the passengers named so far, all were from Los Angeles except for a woman who was from Palmdale, California.



The remaining unidentified passengers are a man and a woman.

Meanwhile, several people are still hospitalized, four of them in critical condition.

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs said Monday that it's treating the four critically injured, one person in serious condition and another in good condition. Another patient was transferred to Los Angeles.

The region's only trauma center received 14 injured victims after a tour bus slammed into the back of semi-truck Sunday on Interstate 10.

RELATED: Tour bus crash with semi-truck kills 13 people, injures 31 others

Eisenhower Medical Center spokeswoman Lee Rice says the Rancho Mirage hospital is treating two people in good condition. The hospital received 12, nine of whom were released and one transferred in good condition.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital spokesman Ken Alan says the Indio hospital treated and released five people for minor injuries.

"I flew up. I hit all the seats, and got my jaw out of place," said Henry Teurcios, who was on the bus and who also suffred a broken nose.

A maintenance crew had slowed down traffic on the highway through Sunday night, and the work had gone on for hours without problems.

Passengers who were asleep on the bus woke up to loud screams and the sound of crushing metal.

The gambling jaunt ended in one of the deadliest wrecks in California history with 13 people killed and 31 others injured.

Authorities said the bus was going much faster than the truck, causing it to plow about 15 feet into the truck on Interstate 10 just north of the desert resort town of Palm Springs.

"You can see it was a substantial impact," California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele said.

It was not known if alcohol, drugs or fatigue played a role in the crash, but the bus was inspected in April and had no mechanical issues, Abele said. The bus driver was killed, and the truck driver received minor injuries.

The bus was coming from Red Earth Casino in the desert town of Thermal and was about 35 miles into its 135-mile trip back to Los Angeles.

CHP officers had been slowing traffic to allow utility workers to string wires across the freeway, Abele said.

Passengers told officials that most people were asleep when the crash occurred shortly after 5 a.m. Abele said it appeared the 1996 bus didn't have seat belts and likely didn't have data recorder that would reveal how fast the bus was traveling and whether the driver braked before impact.

"I was awakened by the sounds of people screaming for help," passenger Ana Car, 61, told the Los Angeles Times. "I noticed a heavyset woman lying in the center aisle to my right yelling, 'My legs! My legs!'"

Before April, the bus also was inspected in 2014 and 2015, the CHP said. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show it had no crashes in the past two years and had a satisfactory safety rating.

The front of the bus crumpled into the semi-truck's trailer and debris was scattered across the key route through Southern California. Firefighters used ladders to climb into the bus' windows to remove bodies, and tow trucks lifted the trailer to make it easier to reach the bus, whose front end was demolished.

Fourteen patients were sent to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, the area's only trauma center. Four remained in critical condition Sunday evening, two were transferred to other hospitals for continuing treatment and the rest were treated and released, hospital officials said.

Many suffered facial injuries, a telltale sign they were not wearing seat belts, said Dr. Ricard Townsend, a trauma surgeon.

"It seemed as though most of the victims were unrestrained and were therefore flown through the air and ended up sustaining facial trauma," he said.

Two other hospitals received patients with minor injuries.

The tour bus company, USA Holiday, has one vehicle and one driver, according to federal regulators. A call to the company was not immediately returned.

The company says on social media that it has more than 25 years of experience traveling to casinos in Southern California. It posts about quick turnaround trips leaving the Los Angeles area to casinos in the Southern California desert area and Las Vegas.

The bus owner's neighbor said she'd often see a tour bus with the sign "USA Holiday" parked on the street in front of his apartment in a working-class neighborhood in Alhambra, about 7 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Sonia Anderson said the family who lived there - a man, woman and their college student son - had lived in the apartment for about 17 years. She said the father generally drove the bus and his wife and son would sometimes travel on the bus with him.

Anderson described them as a kind, close-knit family. "All three of them are hard-working people. Good people. Beautiful family," she said.

The father was "always working, coming in and out, providing for his family," Anderson said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to California to investigate.

The crash comes two years after a FedEx truck veered across an interstate median north of Sacramento and slammed into a bus full of high school students, killing 10 people.

In 1963, 32 Mexican farm workers who were in the Central Valley as part of a work visa program were killed when a freight train struck the flatbed truck they were riding on. In 1976, a bus carrying the Yuba City high school choir plunged off a freeway ramp in Martinez, killing 28 students and one teacher.

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(Copyright ©2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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