Over a dozen people were severely harmed in a bus crash on Tuesday in Central California. The bus was traveling north on Route 99 through Merced County when it smashed into an overhead sign pole on the side of the highway. The impact killed 5 people and injured 18, nearly slicing the bus in half lengthwise.
Officials were still trying to understand what led the driver to drive headfirst into the pole. According to passenger testimony, the bus driver was attempting to pass a vehicle that refused to yield. As a result, the bus was forced off the road, at least according to one of the passengers who wasn’t harmed.
Unfortunately, the bus driver has been in serious condition and cannot be interviewed about the crash yet.
Survivors were in various conditions after the crash—some were practically unharmed, while other passengers suffered from severed limbs. Thankfully, of the 18 injured passengers, none are in critical condition anymore.
The bus was owned by Autobuses Coordinados USA, a service that provides transportation from Southern California up the coast to Washington State. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gave the service a satisfactory rating as of May, only a few months ago. The crashed bus, however, had three safety violations as recently as April—including a defective brake warning device.
Our hearts go out to the families of the injured and killed.