At least 14 people were injured, one seriously, when a Riverside Transit Authority bus, a car and a tow truck crashed the morning of December 19, 2013. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the incident occurred at Highway 74 and Briggs Road in Romoland. California Highway Patrol officials said the bus was heading west approaching Briggs Road in rainy weather when it slid and spun sideways striking a Pontiac Bonneville that was traveling in the opposite direction. A tow truck following the Bonneville also hit the car.
A 48-year old woman driving the car suffered major injuries and was transported to a regional hospital for treatment. Fire officials said 14 people including the car's driver were transported to hospitals. Two suffered serious injuries and 12 others suffered minor to moderate injuries. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Investigators are also performing a mechanical inspection of the bus.
According to California Highway Patrol's 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 85 fatalities and 2,014 injuries involving traffic collisions in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County. Also, countywide, 190 fatalities and 7,632 injuries were reported due to traffic accidents during the same year.
What Caused This Bus Crash?
Based on this news report, it appears that it was the bus driver who lost control of the bus and crashed into the car. There are several unanswered questions here. What caused the bus driver to lose control? Were impairment, inattention or driver distraction factors in this crash? Was the driver speeding or traveling too fast given the wet weather and slick roadway? Was there a mechanical issue in the bus that caused the driver to lose control? Was the driver fatigued at the time? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine what caused this crash.
In such cases, the transit authority can be held liable for injuries to passengers and occupants of other vehicles. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.