A tourist bus crashed early Tuesday morning in central California killing five people and injuring more than 20 passengers. The bus hit a sign on the highway, and the critical patients were airlifted to the nearest hospital, including the bus driver, Mario David Vasquez. The Vasquez family insist he would not have driven if it was tired, alleging there must be another reason behind the crash. On Tuesday evening, 3 of the six critical victims evolved to a fair condition.
On Tuesday afternoon, 3 of the six critical victims changed to a fair condition. The vehicle was reported to be a Van Hool bus that departed from Mexico to Washington D.C. with stops in Los Angeles, Livingston in Merced County, and Sacramento. According to NBC Los Angeles, the crashed happened around 03:25 a.m. on Highway 99 in Atwater, Merced County. The bus slammed into the highway “Hammatt Avenue” sign.
CHP did not find brake marks at the scene, which makes officers suspect that the bus crashed into the pole at full speed, but how fast was it going, it is unknown.
The bus had no name on its side and made it more difficult the identification of the company and the search for information to understand what happened. Later on, the driver’s identity was found, and Mario David Vasquez, 57, was airlifted along with other five patients because they suffered significant injuries. The other victims were taken to various hospitals.
Sgt. Luis Lara stated that about ten wounded passengers were walking the scene when officers arrived. But not every passenger had the luck to survive and walk around the bus. Some of them were trapped inside the vehicle for hours and had to wait until firefighters cut the bus to rescue them.
At Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Dr. Kathleen Eve, who is a trauma surgeon, said that three patients remain in a critical condition, but other three are safe. Victims that were taken to Doctors Medical Center suffered neck injuries, broken bones, and physicians had to amputate, but Dr. Eve did not elaborate, The Washington Post reported.
Mario Vasquez family insists he would not drive if he were feeling tired
Family members described Vasquez as a hardworking person who rarely took a day off, but despite his persistent will to drive people to tour the United States, his family say he was very responsible and when he knows he is not capable of driving, he calls one of his colleagues to take over. Vasquez’s granddaughter says that it was important for his grandfather to return home safely, NBC Los Angeles reports.
Vasquez lives in Los Angeles with several members of his family. He supports them all financially. They said he always inspected the bus he was going to drive before each trip. The tour company gave him a rise for his good job not long ago.
Mr. Vasquez has recently lost his wife, who was 25 years. She died of cancer.
Source: NBC LA