fallbrook

2 Victims ID’d, CHP Details Deadly Charter Bus Rollover Crash in Fallbrook

Not including the driver, there were nine females and 11 males on the charter bus, ranging from ages 5 to 75, according to the CHP report

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While federal investigators send a team to the scene of the charter bus crash that killed three and injured 18 more, including the driver, the California Highway Patrol has released more information about the passengers.

On Saturday morning, the bus swerved on southbound Interstate 15 having just passed State Route 76. It was beginning to go uphill on I-15 near Fallbrook when, for reasons still under investigation, the driver lost control, the CHP said.

The bus veered off the road, overturned and slid down the side of the embankment, ejecting multiple people from the bus, according to CHP.

The three women pronounced dead at the scene were 67-year-old Maria De La Luz Diaz from Riverside, 73-year-old Julia Perez Cornejo from Pasadena, and an unidentified 23-year-old from Mexico, CHP said.

Cornejo was reportedly traveling to see her newly orphaned grandchildren as both their parents had died in the last six months, Catalina Ulloa told a Telemundo station in Los Angeles. Cornejo's husband also died recently, according to Ulloa.

A total of 17 individuals were taken to local hospitals including Palomar Medical Center, Temecula Valley Hospital and Inland Valley Medical Center, CHP confirmed. Not including the driver, there were nine females and 11 males total on the charter bus.

The youngest passenger was a 5-year-old boy from Mexico and the oldest passenger was a 75-year-old woman facing serious injuries, also from Mexico, according to the CHP report.

The 5-year-old boy reportedly suffered life-threatening head injuries and was being treated at University Riverside Health Services Medical Center, CHP said. On Monday, CHP said the boy was expected to make a recovery.

The other 16 passengers have injuries ranging from minor to serious with broken bones, lacerations and complaints of pain, CHP said.

"Little by little I start remembering and getting flashbacks and I would only hear people screaming that were inside and the others were trapped," one injured passenger who did not want to go on camera told Telemundo20 in Spanish.

Most passengers live in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernadino counties, the report said. CHP listed Mexico as the known place of residence for 8 of the 20 passengers.

CHP said the area around the bus was searched extensively. A helicopter and drone flew over the scene and did not find additional victims.

NBC 7's Niala Charles spoke to a man who witnessed the crash and stopped to help.

The 52-year-old driver from Whittier, initially included in the hospital transportation count, sustained minor abrasions and pain injuries, CHP said. He was not transported to a hospital but instead remained at the scene and then interviewed with authorities at the Oceanside CHP Office.

Impairment of the driver is not believed to be a factor in the crash, CHP said.

CHP also confirmed the bus was equipped with seatbelts, but it was still under investigation whether passengers were using the seatbelts.

The charter bus is owned by Executive Lines Inc., based in El Monte near Los Angeles. CHP said the bus was driving from El Monte to Tijuana, Mexico, picking up passengers from stops such as Baldwin Park, Pomona and Riverside.

Christopher Williams said he witnessed the bus hydroplane in the rain and lose control, veering off the highway about 200 yards in front of his car.

"The bus driver tried to turn the wheel and it hit an embankment and just flipped over, went down the hill," Williams told NBC 7. "[I] got out and just ran down the hill, started just picking people up and carrying them up the hill."

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