Fatal Tour Bus Crash Account Released: Confirmed Death Toll Remains at Seven

The California Highway Patrol released a corrected account of the fatal crash on Tuesday.

Authorities investigating a tour bus crash Sunday with seven fatalities on State Route 38 north of Yucaipa said Tuesday that six people died at the scene and a seventh was pronounced deceased at Redlands Community Hospital.

There were three vehicles involved in the crash and all the drivers were transported from the scene to local hospitals with major to moderate injuries, Sgt. Andrew Thompson of the California Highway Patrol said.

Investigators with the CHP released the following corrected account of the crash on Tuesday:

Shortly after 6:30 p.m. Feb. 3, a 1996 VanHool Bus, driven by Norbert B. Perez, 52, of San Ysidro, Calif., was coming down the 38 at an undetermined rate of speed.

As the bus traveled downhill, "the driver experienced a loss of control allowing the front end of the bus to strike the rear of a Saturn sedan traveling within the same lane," CHP investigators said.

The bus continued out of control as it approached a curve and veered into the opposing lane where it collided with a blue Ford pickup truck pulling a trailer, traveling uphill.

"As a result of the collision, the bus rolled over causing several passengers to be ejected," CHP investigators said. "The bus was then deflected back into the eastbound lane after striking a large boulder adjacent to the roadway."

Striking the boulder forced the bus upright again and it came to stop blocking both lanes of the 38, CHP investigators said. The Saturn and the Ford pickup were stopped on the shoulder ofย  the 38.

The crash scene was below the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon and the bridge crossing Mill Creek, north of the Mill Creek Ranger Station at Bryant Street, and east of Mentone and Redlands.

"There were a total of seven people confirmed deceased as a result of the collision," the corrected CHP statement said.

Six were pronounced deceased at the scene, and a seventh was pronounced deceased on arrival at Redlands Community Hospital, CHP Officer Kevin Reese of the Inland Division said in a phone interview.

More than 35 patients were transported from the crash scene Sunday night, one by helicopter and the rest by ground ambulances, according to San Bernardino County Fire personnel who worked at the scene.

Identities of the injured and updates on their conditions were not released.

The seven deceased victims were identified by the coroner as Guadalupe Olivas 61, of San Diego, Elvira Garcia Jimenez, 40, of San Diego, Victor Cabrera Garcia, 13, of San Diego, Aleida Adriana Arce Hernandez, 38, of Tijuana, Rubicelia Escobedo Flores, 34, of Tijuana, Mario Garcia Santoyo, 32, of Tijuana, and Liliana Camerina Sanchez Sauceda 24, of Tijuana.

The tour bus itinerary was Tijuana to Big Bear and back to Tijuana, CHP Officer Leon Lopez said Monday at the crash scene. The bus is registered to Scapadas Magicas LLC of National City, CHP Officer Mario Lopez said before sunrise Monday at a road block south of the crash scene.

The cause of the crash was still under investigation. Anyone who witnessed it was urged to call the CHP Inland Division at (909) 806-2400.

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Joshua Torrance February 05, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Any news on the people in Saturn or Ford pick up? I'm sure they were locals. I thought I read somewhere the owner of truck was from Beaumont? What are their conditions?
Dutchman February 06, 2013 at 03:54 AM
The owner of the pickup lived in Mountain Home and owns his own landscape business. I heard he broke both wrists and another broken bone to another extremity but, I can't recall now. He had surgery and is recovering at Loma Linda Med Ctr. No word on the Saturn, but, I think the injuries were minor in nature.


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