Federal officials have shut down the company whose tour bus went out of control before a catastrophic collision with two other vehicles on February 3, 2013. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, federal officials said the bus company is an "imminent hazard" to public safety after finding mechanical problems with its other buses. Eight people, including seven passengers, were killed in that bus crash that occurred near Yucaipa. The victims who were killed in this crash have been identified as Fred B. Richardon, 72; Guadalupe Olivas, 61; Elvira Garcia Jimenez, 40; Victor Cabrera Garcia, 13; Aleida Adriana Arce Hernandez, 38, Rubicelia Escobedo Flores, 34; Liliana Camerina Sanchez Sauceda, 24; and Mario Garcia Santoyo, 32.
In addition, U.S. Department of Transportation investigators determined that Tijuana-based Scapadas Magicas provided them with documentation during a January compliance check that falsely stated that its buses were well maintained and that its drivers were properly licensed.
Bus Company Lied to Inspectors
It is not rare for a bus company to get caught lying to officials on these important matters, a federal official told The Press-Enterprise. The Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol periodically do compliance reviews of bus companies. During these reviews, investigators will make unscheduled visits to review licenses, medical certificates, driver logs and maintenance records as well as result of drug and alcohol testing programs.
CHP officers may conduct random inspections in the field usually at the bus company or terminal to verify documentation. An officer has the power to take a bus out of service on the spot if he or she decides it is in poor mechanical shape or that the driver is not properly licensed. Scapadas Magicas supplied documentation to officials in January suggesting no problems. But when officials inspected two other buses that the company operates in the United States, they found serious mechanical safety violations.
Rights of Victims and Families
It is critical that those who have been injured or have lost loved ones in this tragic bus crash contact an experienced California bus accident attorney who will strive to preserve important evidence in this case and hold the bus company accountable. It is appalling that this bus company gambled with the lives of its passengers and apparently, did so routinely. I'm relieved that federal officials have banned this company from operating, at least for now.