A charter bus on the rain-slicked 15 Freeway in San Diego County rolled down an embankment near Fallbrook the morning of Feb. 22, killing three people, leaving a 5-year-old in critical condition and injuring 17 others. According to an NBC news report, the bus was carrying 21 passengers. Eighteen were thrown from the bus, scattered throughout the area, and one of the dead passengers was trapped under the vehicle after it landed on its roof. California Highway Patrol officials said the charter bus lost control and went over the side of the road. No other vehicles seemed to be involved, officials said.
We offer our deepest condolences to the families of those who were killed in this bus crash. We also wish the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep everyone who was affected in your thoughts and prayers.
Reaching passengers after the bus accident was a complex task for rescuers because they needed to stabilize the bus to make sure it would not slide down the embankment. It took them 30 minutes to extricate people from the bus and transport them to local hospitals. Eighteen passengers were transferred to various hospitals with injuries ranging from life-threatening to non-life-threatening. Three women were confirmed dead at the scene. A 5-year-old boy remains in critical condition with a head injury.
Officials said the bus did have seatbelts, but that the majority of the passengers were not wearing them. The bus driver suffered minor injuries. One witness said he saw the bus hydroplane from the third lane to the fourth lane before it lost control and veered to the right. The bus was traveling from El Monte in Los Angeles County to San Ysidro, a border town in San Diego County.
We trust officials are looking into what caused this horrific fatal bus crash in San Diego County. Was the bus driver impaired or distracted at the time? Did fatigued driving lead to this crash? Was the driver traveling at an excessive rate of speed given the slick roadway conditions?
In such cases, if the driver is determined to have been negligent (careless) or at fault, the driver and his or her employer can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities and past and future pain and suffering. Families of deceased victims can also seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced San Diego bus accident lawyer will be able to help injured victims and families better understand their legal rights and options.