Three Passengers in Fatal Palm Springs Tour Bus Crash File Suit

News Staff

Palm Springs, CA

Three people who were injured in the tour bus crash that killed 13 people and injured 31 passengers near Palm Springs are suing several entities, including the estate of the bus company’s owner/driver and the cities of Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs.

Jose Santos Hernandez, Idalia Arevalo and Pilar Medrano, all of Los Angeles, were on the USA Holiday bus that rear-ended a big rig about 5:15 a.m. last Oct. 23 on westbound Interstate 10, west of Indian Canyon Drive. The bus took gamblers on a junket to the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, and was en route back to the Los Angeles area when it slammed into the rear of the truck.

The driver and owner of the bus company, Teodulo Elias Vides, was killed, along with 12 passengers riding near the front of the bus. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit this month in Riverside County Superior Court, alleging Vides and the truck driver, Bruce Guilford, were negligently operating their vehicles and violated traffic laws leading up to the crash.

The suit also names Caltrans, Riverside County and the cities of Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs as defendants, stating that the entities were responsible for providing adequate lighting along that stretch of Interstate 10, where construction work was ongoing. The work, which involved moving electrical wires across the roadway, slowed traffic in the area. CHP said Guilford’s truck was going about 5 mph at the time of the crash. It is unknown how fast Vides was driving.

A passenger list released by the California Highway Patrol shortly following the crash stated that the three plaintiffs were hospitalized with minor injuries, but their complaint states that their injuries have caused “great physical, mental and nervous pain, suffering and anguish …” Similar lawsuits have also been filed against Vides’ estate and USA Holiday by family members of some of the deceased victims, as well as others among the 31 injured bus riders.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet determined the exact cause of the crash, though investigators revealed last year that some tires on the bus were overly worn, putting the vehicle out of compliance with federal regulations.

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