Officials have identified four French tourists killed in the April 27, 2009 Soledad bus accident as 68-year-old Daniel Le Garrec, 65-year-old Christian Montmayeur, 64-year-old Jacqueline Montmayeur and 26-year-old Michael Taveira. According to an Associated Press news report, the driver of the bus, who also died in the fatal bus accident, was identified as John Egnew. Four passengers are still in critical condition in area hospitals.
A total of 36 people were on board that Orange County-based Orion Pacific tour bus when it crashed into a guardrail and rolled over on the U.S. 101 near Soledad. The group included 34 tourists from France, a Canadian tour guide and Egnew, the American driver. California Highway Patrol officials are still interviewing witnesses and passengers and looking for any physical evidence that might point to a cause.
This is a challenge for investigators particularly because the driver is deceased. Reports that came out this week stated that Egnew was involved in a Las Vegas pedestrian accident a few years ago when he struck and injured a woman in a crosswalk. His employer settled with the husband of the woman, who suffered a brain injury in that accident.
I offer my deepest condolences and sympathies to all who were involved in this traumatic bus crash. I can only imagine what these French families must be going through, dealing with loved ones who have been killed or injured in a foreign country. They will certainly be in my prayers. Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys would be more than happy to help any of these victims or their families get more information about the law or their rights relating to this incident.
Some news reports this week also quoted bus passengers saying that the driver knew about mechanical problems in the Soledad tour bus. Some even talked about how they were not comfortable with the condition of the bus during their journey. I trust investigators are looking into mechanical malfunctions and/or product defects that may have caused the driver to lose control of the bus. So far, I haven’t seen any reports, which indicate that the driver was falling asleep at the wheel or that he was under the influence.
In such accidents where a product defect is believed to be the cause, it is critical to preserve the bus in its current damaged condition, unaltered, so it may be examined by expert bus accident attorneys for any evidence of malfunction or product defects.