A 64-year-old woman from Van Nuys was killed Thursday when a tour bus she was traveling in overturned on a slick freeway in northern San Diego County, authorities said.
California Highway Patrol said the victim, Tayde Murguia, died after being partially ejected from and trapped underneath the overturned tour bus.
Most of the 22 passengers on board suffered injuries, with 6 of them suffering major injuries, CHP said.
The crash – the second of its kind on the same freeway Thursday – happened about 2:30 p.m. on southbound Interstate 15 at State Route 76 near Fallbrook Thursday afternoon. The tour bus was heading to Valley View Casino.
"When officers arrived, they found quite a chaotic scene, as you can imagine, with so many patients that were in the area," said Officer Jim Bettencourt with the California Highway Patrol.
The bus was driven by a 56-year-old man from Compton and is from Bell-based Five Star Bus Charter, a company that has been involved in other crashes.
According to federal safety records, Five Star Bus Charter operates two buses and employs two drivers. Those buses were involved in two other crashes in the past two years. Federal records reveal one of those crashes resulted in an injury.
But as of Sept. 8, Five Star had a "satisfactory" safety rating from the federal Department of Transportation.
The company's corporate registration was suspended two weeks ago because it failed to pay taxes or penalties owed to the franchise tax board.
A representative for the company said she’s trying to get more information about Thursday’s fatal crash and declined to comment further.
A Sig Alert was issued after the crash, which blocked the right two lanes and backed up traffic for several hours. There was rain in that area, and CHP said slick roads could have been a factor in the crash.
According to police, the driver said he was going approximately 55 mph when the bus began swerving. The driver lost control, and the bus flipped on its side. Investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.
Also on Thursday, a tour bus crash on the 15 Freeway in Corona shut down two lanes of thoroughfare for hours. According to CHP, no one was killed, but most of the 30 passengers suffered minor injuries.
Unsafe speeds in rainy conditions may have contributed to that casino crash, investigators said.