The California Highway Patrol will recommend a tour bus driver face a manslaughter charge in the December crash that killed a Van Nuys woman.
Hector Clemente, 57, of Compton was driving a bus to Valley View Casino, headed southbound on I-15 near Fallbrook.
Investigators say Clemente told them he suddenly he felt the bus jerk to the left. They say when he turned the steering wheel to the right he lost control of the bus, flipping over on the rain-slick interstate.
Tayde Murguia, 64, died after being partially ejected from and trapped underneath the overturned tour bus. Twenty-one others were injured in the crash.
Hydroplaning may be a possibility considering problems investigators found with two of the buses tires.
“Some of tires on bus were a little bit bald, were losing a lot of tread in some of the important areas,” said CHP Office Jim Bettencourt.
Five Star Bus Charter owns the bus Clemente was driving. A spokeswoman told me though they're no longer operating bus tours--inspections were done every 45 days.
Federal safety records show the Bell, California company owns two buses and as of September had a "satisfactory" rating despite those buses being involved in two other accidents in the past two years--resulting in one injury.
“If they continue to put unsafe buses out there then we can definitely can shut them down if that's the case in the future, " said Bettencourt.
Investigators say it doesn't appear speed was an issue.
Even though the CHP is recommending manslaughter charges, the final decision is up to the district attorney's office.