California Highway Patrol (CHP) authorities are investigating whether driver fatigue played a role in the crash of a tour bus in Northern California Sunday morning that killed one passenger and seriously injured several others.
The bus, owned and operated by Othello, Wash.-based Yellow Arrow Lines LLC, was traveling to Pasco, Wash., from Los Angeles when it veered off the highway and careened down an embankment, landing on its roof. The crash occurred about 7:30 a.m. roughly 100 miles south of the Oregon border.
The accident killed Octaviano Garcia, a 33-year-old man from Parlier, Calif., near Fresno. Three critically injured passengers and three seriously injured passengers were taken to area hospital for treatment. Two dozen others were treated for more minor injuries.
CHP authorities said the bus driver, Jose Victor Garcilazo Palencia, 67, of Los Angeles, may have been tired because he struck the roof overhang of a Denny’s restaurant during a stop in Red Bluff, Calif., about 50 miles south of the crash site. Only slight property damage was reported in the first incident and nobody was injured.
“Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but don’t realize that driving while fatigued can be just as fatal,” the CHP said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, “Investigators said evidence at both crash sites show that driver fatigue may have been a factor. They did not say whether drugs or alcohol may have been involved or whether any citations or charges were planned.”
A check of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records shows that no other Yellow Arrow buses or drivers were involved in crashes within the last two years.