Bus passenger describes terror of crash
BY TAMI ABDOLLAH Associated Press
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
2/05/13 at 6:26 AM
A runaway bus careened down a mountain road without brakes and the driver called out to passengers to phone 911 before a violent crash with two other vehicles that killed seven people and injured dozens of others, a surviving passenger said Monday.
However, the pleas by the driver were futile because no one had cellphone reception in the rugged area, said passenger Gerardo Barrientos, 28.
The bus was carrying a group from Tijuana, Mexico, and heading home from a snow trip to the Big Bear Lake area of the San Bernardino Mountains 80 miles east of Los Angeles when it crashed into a sedan and pickup truck Sunday evening.
More than three dozen people were injured, and at least 17 were still hospitalized Monday, including at least five in critical condition.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
Records showed the company that operated the bus had failed more than a third of federal vehicle safety inspections in the past two years.
The bus involved in the crash recorded 22 safety violations in about a year's time, including problems with brakes, the windshield and tires, according to inspection reports posted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Barrientos estimated the descent down the mountain lasted five minutes before the collision.
The driver told investigators the bus had brake problems.
Original Print Headline: Passenger describes terror of bus crash
Investigators continue to work the scene of a bus crash Monday that killed seven people and injured dozens Sunday night on California 38, east of Los Angeles. STAN LIM / The Press-Enterprise / AP