NTSB: Tour bus involved in fatal wreck near Palm Springs had out of compliance tire treads

Posted at 2:07 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 18:15:43-04

PALM SPRINGS -- A tour bus that crashed into a semi truck, claiming the lives of 13 people and injuring 31 others, had tire treads that were out of compliance, according to a preliminary NTSB investigation.

The crash, which happened over the weekend, was one of the deadliest wrecks in California history.

The tour bus was returning to Los Angeles from a casino trip when it slammed into the back of a semi-truck that had slowed to around 5 mph for construction. California Highway Patrol officers had been slowing traffic to allow utility workers to string wires across the freeway. For more details on the crash


The National Safety Transportation Board held a news conference Tuesday outlining their findings:

Deadly Crashes Involving U.S. Casino Buses (since the late 1990s)
Compiled by Associated Press News Researcher Jennifer Farrar

Oct. 13, 2016

The driver of a Greatime Getaways charter bus was killed when it crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer blocking a highway in north Georgia, about 80 miles from Atlanta. The bus was heading to Harrah's Valley River Casino in Murphy, North Carolina with 48 people aboard, most of them senior citizens. Most were injured. The tractor-trailer driver was said to be at fault. Passengers said the driver and bus company owner, Richard Rees, was a hero for turning the bus into the truck to avoid swerving and flipping the vehicle.

July 25, 2016

Mike Vassiliou, 60, of Bristol, Connecticut, died after colliding head-on with a casino bus on the main road of the Mohegan Sun Casino. State police said Vassiliou was traveling the wrong way. The bus driver and the sole bus passenger survived.

May 14, 2016
A charter bus headed to a casino in Eagle Pass, Texas crashed about 50 miles north of Laredo, killing eight people and injuring 44 others in a one-vehicle rollover. A state troop said the driver, who survived, lost control of the bus, which belonged to OGA Charters in San Juan.
Jan. 18, 2016
The driver of a pickup truck was killed in a head-on collision with a casino bus on a highway in Santa Barbara County, California, just before 11:30 a.m. Two people aboard the bus suffered minor injuries.
Jan 1, 2014
A pickup truck collided with a charter bus loaded with casino patrons along a snowy northern Indiana highway, killing the pickup's driver and injuring 15 bus passengers. The pickup driver lost control and slid into oncoming traffic. The Royal Excursion charter bus was carrying about 50 patrons of the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan. Local law enforcement credited the bus driver for saving lives when he steered the bus into a field and kept it upright.
Dec.19, 2013
One passenger was killed and around 50 were injured in separate tour bus accidents on a rainy afternoon — at about the same time and on the same freeway — in Corona and Fallbrook, in Southern California. The bus that overturned on Interstate 15 in Corona, injuring 30 people, was returning to Orange County from the Pala Casino in northern San Diego County. The motorcoach that spilled onto its side in Fallbrook was on its way to nearby Valley View Casino & Hotel from Los Angeles. One passenger was killed and 20 injured in that accident.
Oct. 28, 2013
A charter bus driver was killed when his coach, carrying more than 50 casino tourists, slammed into the rear of a heavy construction truck on Interstate 80, about 33 miles east of Wendover, a Utah-Nevada border gambling town. Four passengers, one critical, were taken to a local hospital.
April 11, 2013
Three passengers died and more than 40 senior citizens were injured in a casino bus accident in Irving, Texas in which passengers said the driver appeared distracted. The Choctaw Nation had hired the Cardinal Coach Line bus company to transport 45 senior citizens from Dallas to its Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. A grand jury declined to indict the driver, Loyd Rieve, for negligent homicide.
March 12, 2011
In one of the deadliest crashes in New York City's history, a casino bus was returning to Chinatown from an overnight trip to the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut when it struck a guardrail on Interstate 95 in the Bronx, flipped over and ripped open. The crash killed 15 of the 32 passengers and injured many more, including one man whose arms were torn off as he tried to shield his face. The driver, Ophadell Williams, was accused of falling asleep at the wheel but was later found not guilty of manslaughter and negligent homicide.
Nov. 20, 2009
A tour bus driver apparently suffered a ruptured aneurysm just before his bus veered off a southern Minnesota interstate and crashed, killing two people and injuring 20, The bus was returning to Rochester, Minnesota from a day trip to a Northwood, Iowa casino. The driver survived the crash.
Oct. 5, 2008
Eleven passengers were killed and 21 were injured, some severely, when a "gamblers' special" careened off a rural road in Colusa County, California, and rolled over into a drainage ditch. The bus was carrying 41 people bound from Sacramento for Colusa Casino Resort. A jury found the 53-year-old trainee driver, Quintin Joey Watts, guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter. He was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison.
Aug. 10, 2008
A casino bus full of tourists flipped over in a median in Tunica, Mississippi, killing three people and injuring several others.
May 17, 2008
A charter bus heading to the gambling town of Laughlin, Nevada, overturned on a Mojave Desert freeway near Ludlow, California, killing a woman and injuring 22 other people.
March 15, 2005
A bus heading to a casino in Indio, California, smashed into a firetruck on a highway, killing one person and injuring 57.
Oct. 9, 2004
A charter bus crashed in Marion, Arkansas, killing 14 people headed to a Mississippi casino.
Feb. 7, 2003
A tour bus taking passengers from New York City to Atlantic City, New Jersey, fell on its side on a slushy highway, killing two passengers and injuring 28.
May 9, 1999
A bus heading to a casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, ran off a highway on Mother's Day, killing 22 people. Investigators said the driver was impaired by severe medical conditions and use of marijuana and an antihistamine.
Dec. 24, 1998
A bus headed for Atlantic City casinos skidded off the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey and flipped over in a ravine on Christmas Eve, killing eight people and injuring 15 others.