On Wednesday, Feb. 7, a judge in Pasadena let a 51-year-old Georgia truck driver, who’s facing 40 different criminal offenses including reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter, know that his case is going to trial. He stands accused of having caused the deaths of 13 passengers on a tour bus that crashed into the rear of his truck along Interstate 10 during the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2016.
Testimony provided at the preliminary hearing by the lead California Highway Patrol officer responsible for investigating the crash pointed to trucker fatigue as having played a role in causing the crash.
There are different accounts of just how long traffic may have been at a standstill prior to the crash occurring. The trucker previously had told police that he had fallen asleep for potentially as long as 30 minutes before the crash occurred while stuck in the backed up traffic. Police were able to determine that it could have been as little as two minutes though.
At the preliminary hearing, the lead investigator recounted how he’d combed through the truck’s GPS system and the trucker’s own driver logs. In doing so, he was able to quickly notice that the trucker had driven well in excess of what he’s allowed to do so under Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines.
Once the traffic jam cleared, other motorists began whizzing by the trucker at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour, yet the trucker didn’t move at all. Prosecutors argue that this, unfortunately, caught the bus driver who crashed into the truck off guard.
National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) investigators later determined that the bus’ driver was also likely fatigued. They argue that this may have contributed to him not using the 20 seconds that he had before crashing into the rear of the bus to veer off into another lane to avoid the crash happening.
If you’ve lost a loved one in a senseless crash caused by a fatigued truck or bus driver, then a Pasadena attorney may advise you of your right to recover funeral costs and lost future wages in your case.
Source: Pasadena Star-News, “Truck driver to stand trial in crash, involving Alhambra bus, that killed 13,” Feb. 07, 2018