|photo from Chris Tarpening|
The tour bus was identified as a USA Holiday bus and was transporting passengers from the RED EARTH CASINO. More news to follow...
The tour bus had smashed into the rear of the big rig, KILLING the DRIVER and the front of the bus was enveloped by the big rig's trailer. Dozens of firefighters swarmed the scene, struggling to reach victims. They used chainsaws to break open the vehicle and make their way into its front, even though it was clear there was barely any room to fit inside.
In 2013 there were TWO tribal casino bus crashes on the SAME DAY which at the time drove the number of tour bus crashed to SIX in four months.
In 2015 there was another Pala Casino tour bus crash that hospitalized 13.
The speed was reported as SIGNIFICANT, due to the length of the entry in the trailer. The truck driver received minor injuries..
The 1996 bus had been inspected each year for the last 3 years.
Investigators will look at whether the driver fell asleep, had a heart attack or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Abele said. They will also investigate the possibility of a mechanical failure.
Authorities hope to recover a data recorder that would reveal how fast the bus was traveling and whether the driver braked before impact. The bus, manufactured in 1996, may not have one on board, officials said
DRIVE DID NOT HIT HIS BRAKES, say authorities