23 Injured in Corona Bus Tour Accident, Including the Driver
On Thursday, December 19, 2013 there was an accident on Interstate 15 in Corona. A group that was on their way back from a day at a casino, twenty-three tourists were hospitalized when their tour bus crashed.
Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions. The bus ended up laying on it’s left side, which put it on the dirt and gravel shoulder of the northbound lanes between Magnolia and Ontario avenues for several hours.
According to the California Highway Patrol the passengers on the bus had spent the day at the Pala Casino which is east of Fallbrook and north of San Diego and were heading to Westminster.
Police officers had interviewed the driver, which was identified as 35 year old Jian Fei Duan, and the passengers and gathered that the bus traveling at 65 miles per hour which was an unsafe speed for the wet roads that day.
The bus driver lost control of the bus and left interstate 15, crashing into the center median guardrail which turned the bus on its side. Twenty-three of the thirty passengers were taken to local hospitals. They had injuries ranging from minor to moderate. The driver was also hurt but not transported to a hospital. There were no other vehicles involved in the crash.
Everything on the bus appeared to be intact when the officers performed the preliminary mechanical inspection of the bus. The Major Accident Investigation Team planned for a more thorough inspection after the bus was removed. The bus was operated by a tour company called “Sina Coach,” which is based in Walnut.
The Sina Coach company has been cited twice in the past two years for violations. In March 2013 they were cited for having a non-English speaking driver. In January 2012 they were cited for having a driver that didn’t speak English and for having a driver who could not understand highway traffic signs and signals. However, the driver in Thursday’s crash does speak English.
The crash was reported around 3:34 that evening. The accident happened on a long downgrade in the area where it had rained most of the day. The police officer described the injures as “Minor to Moderate.” Some victims were taken to the Corona Regional Medical Center as well as three other hospitals in Riverside which include: Parkview Community, Kaiser Permanente, and Riverside Community.
The Corona Fire Chief stated that shortly after the crash, the emergency workers struggled with the language barrier. Many of the victims were Chinese speakers.
Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm