Four Dead After Catastrophic Bus Accident in Merced

A charter bus collided with a highway sign in Central California, slicing the bus down the middle and killing four passengers.

When first responders arrived on the scene, they found the highway sign still in tact, standing straight up and out of the front of the bus. They noted scattered debris from the inside of the bus all over the highway and shoulder — drinks, seat cushions, personal effects, etc.

As for the rescue of passengers, they found several people ejected from the bus, while more remained inside, unable to get out. One rider, Leonardo Sanchez, remembered falling asleep and waking up to the chaos. He heard cries for help and saw many victims unable to move — he and his fellow passengers could barely provide help because there was glass all over the inside of the truck. Sanchez also noted that many of the least injured riders evacuated the vehicle quickly, as they feared it would catch fire.

The accident occurred at 3:53 a.m. with driver Mario David Vasquez behind the wheel. Authorities don’t know what caused the crash, nor do they know the purpose of the chartered trip. The bus originated in Mexico and made a stop in Los Angeles; its final destination was Pasco, Washington.

Vasquez survived the crash, though he sustained major injuries. He had only one prior minor accident on his records, one that occurred due to ice on the roads. His family described him as responsible — despite his seven-day driving schedule, he’d often try and find other drivers to take shifts if he felt too tired to do so safely.

The bus itself may have had issues, though, as an April inspection found three violations. One was the lack of or a defective brake warning device, though, again, authorities say they have yet to find the cause of the accident. Their investigation and clean-up of the scene caused a shutdown of Freeway 99 for more than eight hours.

For legal representation use the Los Angeles bus accident lawyer resource created by the SoCal Injury Lawyers. It will help you better understand how to progress to receive the proper settlement check.

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