After two tour buses crashed along the same stretch of the 15 Freeway, the NBC4 I-Team dug into their safety records and found one of the buses was taken off the road last year and the other was recently involved in another crash. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Dec. 19, 2013.
Unsafe speeds in rainy conditions may have contributed to the casino bus crash that injured 22 and shut a stretch of Southern California highway for hours, the CHP said.
The roads were wet when the crash happened before 3 p.m. in the northbound lanes of the Ontario (15) Freeway at Magnolia Avenue in Corona, officials said.
The driver of the Sina Coach bus, Jian Fei Duan, 35, of Baldwin Park, was traveling about 65 mph, too fast for the conditions, said California Highway Patrol Officer Travis Monks, a department spokesman.
The bus struck the center median guardrail and tipped onto its side, blocking two lanes of traffic, Monks said.
All of the passengers were taken to hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to moderate. The driver suffered minor injuries.
All lanes of traffic were reopened shortly after 8 p.m., according to CHP.
The Corona crash happened within 30 minutes of another crash on the same stretch of freeway involving a different bus from a casino in Temecula. That crash left a 64-year-old Glendale woman dead and 21 injured.
The bus that crashed in Corona was returning from the Pala Casino on the Pala Indian Reservation near San Diego, headed back to Westminster, Corona Fire Chief John Medina said.
The passengers were mostly Vietnamese, a dispatcher for the company said.
One passenger who did not want to be identified told NBC4 that moments before the crash, the bus began swerving back and forth and then, suddenly, it turned over. She said she hit a railing on the bus and was taken a hospital with pain in her stomach and lower back.
That passenger was home Thursday night and so were her friends traveling with her who were also taken to hospitals. She said none of them were wearing seatbelts.
The company had no crashes in the previous two years, according to November 2013 data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. But the company has been cited for speeding, bad brakes, bald tires, and operating without a periodic inspection.
Eight vehicles have been pulled out of service in the last two years, data shows.
The company has 26 buses and 25 drivers.
NBC4's Joel Grover reported last week in an I-Team investigation about the long hours bus drivers log, putting passengers -- and the motoring public -- at risk.
This is not the first time a casino tour bus crashed in the Pala area.
In September, a casino tour bus headed from Los Angeles to the Casino Pauma crashed into a guardrail after the brakes failed. Ten of the 18 passengers were hospitalized.
Pala has 2,000 slots, 87 table games, 10 restaurants, a 10,000-square-foot day spa, and four entertainment venues. The hotel has 507 rooms and 82 suites.
NBC4's Chris Henao, Joel Grover, Hetty Chang and Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.