Published on February 24th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Family files lawsuit against bus companies involved in fatal crash
A mother and daughter who survived a fatal crash of a bus near Yucaipa on Super Bowl weekend filed a lawsuit Friday, alleging the bus companies involved were negligent and failed to properly maintain their vehicles.
The crash killed seven passengers and another man, Fred Richardson, 72, whose pickup truck was hit head-on by the bus, which had gone out of control on its way down Highway 38 after a trip to the snow in the San Bernardino Mountains.
San Jose-based attorney Fernando Chavez, whose firm partnered with Sayre, filed the complaint in San Bernardino Superior Court on Friday morning.
The Moraleses were two of the 38 passengers on the day trip from Tijuana to Big Bear Lake.
“It was a one-day charter; they left about 5 in the morning, and they were scheduled to return around 10 p.m.” Chavez said.
At around 6:30 p.m., the driver lost control of the bus on Highway 38 northeast of Bryant Street. The bus struck a Saturn sedan, crossed the center line and rolled over, ejecting passengers, and collided with the oncoming pickup before coming to rest in the center of the road.
“One is still hospitalized – she sustained multiple fractures,” Chavez said.
Guillermina Morales reportedly suffered a fractured leg, pelvis and arm.
They are suing the Tijuana-based Interbus Tours and Charters, which booked the Moraleses on the trip, and Scapadas Magicas, the National City company that provided the bus for the trip, along with bus driver Norberto Perez and the employees of both companies.
Perez told investigators his brakes failed as he descended the mountain road.
No one answered the phone at Scapadas Magicas’ offices on Friday.
Interbus owed its passengers “a duty of care to act as a responsible tour operator by providing safe vacation getaways,” the complaint reads in part.
The federal government ordered Scapadas Magicas to shut down on Feb. 8. Vehicle maintenance violations were cited 21 times in the company’s 25 most recent vehicle inspections, and vehicles were taken out of service after 36 percent of those inspections, according to the federal order.
The Moraleses are seeking unspecified damages, according to the lawsuit. According to Chavez, Scapadas Magicas has a $5 million insurance policy.
Three generations of one family were wiped out that night.
Elvira Garcia Jimenez, 40, a doctor with the Mexican governmental health care system Issstecali; her 13-year-old son Victor Cabrera Garcia; and Jimenez’s mother, Guadalupe Olivas, 61, were all killed in the rollover.
Also killed were Aleida Adriana Arce Hernandez, 38; Rubicelia Escobedo Flores, 34; Mario Garcia Santoyo, 32; Liliana Camerina Sanchez Sauceda, 24; and the driver of the pickup truck, Richardson, of Mountain Home Village.
According to its Facebook page, Interbus has trips scheduled to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and to California theme parks, including Magic Mountain.
Source: Pasadena Star News “Family files lawsuit against bus companies involved in fatal crash,” February 22, 2013.