California Tour Bus Crash Kills 13; Injures 31

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A California tour bus returning from a weekend of gambling at Red Earth Casino, slammed into the back end of a semi-tractor trailer, on 1-10 in the Mojave Desert, killing thirteen including the driver and injuring at least 31 passengers.

The early Sunday morning accident closed down the deserted stretch of highway some 70 miles southwest of Los Angeles, near the desert oasis of Palm Springs.

"Thirty-one passengers were injured in the predawn crash, which shut down the westbound side of the freeway at Indian Canyon Drive," said California Highway Patrol, Chief Jim Abele at a news conference Sunday. "It was a substantial impact," he said,

The full size passenger bus plowed fifteen feet into the back end of the truck. The mangled and crumpled front end of vehicle sat in the middle of the highway as first-responders worked quickly to free trapped passengers. A tow truck was used to raise the front end of the demolished bus which was unrecognizable in order to find any additional victims.  The back end of the trailer was shredded.

Highway maintenance had been working in the area and had slowed down traffic on Interstate 10 before the fatal crash occurred just north of Palm Springs. The maintenance crew had been in place throughout the night hours and was without incident.

The injured were taken to three area hospitals. Of the thirty-one injured six remain in critical condition, the others are expected to survive. The majority of the victims spoke only Spanish and had injuries consistent with failure to wear seat belts which may not have been available on the Alhambra registered tour bus.

The driver of the bus, described as a hard worker, has not been identified.

This is a developing story.

Image courtesy of image stock photos and used with permission.

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