Chula Vista woman among 4 killed in bus crash in Blythe

Jessica Garcia, 30, died at the scene

BLYTHE, Calif. - A Chula Vista woman was among four people killed in a tour-bus crash on a Riverside County freeway, authorities reported Thursday.

Jessica Garcia, 30, died early Wednesday when the bus overturned on Interstate 10 near Blythe, then smashed through a fence and went about 50 feet down an embankment. Also killed were Angel Hernandez, 49, of Hacienda Heights; Pablo Ramirez, 67, of Pico Rivera; and Luz Rivera, 44, of Compton.

The driver of the Los Angeles-bound coach, which had 33 people aboard, lost control of the bus about 2:15 a.m. near a border inspection station while swerving to avoid a load of pipes that had spilled from a jackknifed big rig, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Two other vehicles struck the pipes and crashed, but their occupants were not injured.

Three people were airlifted to hospitals, four were transported by ground ambulance and 14 were taken by bus to be medically evaluated, CHP Officer Jason Girard said.

Neither the driver of the bus nor the driver of the big rig was hurt.

The accidents left the interstate blocked through much of the day.

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the registration of the big rig had expired in January. Other alleged violations on the part of the owner, identified as Victor Esteban Galvan, included an expired medical certificate and driving eight hours without a break. The big rig is operated under VG Transport in Rialto.

The CHP Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team was investigating, Girard said.

The tour bus had begun the day's journey in El Paso, Texas, and had a stop in Phoenix, Ariz.

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