UPDATED: Four Dead, 18+ Injured in LA-Bound Bus Crash Near Blythe

The collisions took place near a border inspection station east of Blythe close to the California-Arizona border. I-10 was closed in both directions near the state line for most of the day.

"The tour bus driver veered to try and avoid the pipes but the driver then slammed into the pipes and overturned in the westbound lanes," a Caltrans representative said.
"The tour bus driver veered to try and avoid the pipes but the driver then slammed into the pipes and overturned in the westbound lanes," a Caltrans representative said.

Update:  All lanes were reopened on Interstate 10 in Blythe around 5:50 p.m., according to Caltrans.

Original story as follows:

Four people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured Wednesday when a load of steel pipes spilled from a jackknifed big-rig and caused a Los Angeles-bound tour bus to overturn along Interstate 10 near Blythe.

The collision occurred around 2:15 a.m. near a border inspection station east of Blythe, close to the California-Arizona border, according to the California Highway Patrol. The freeway was closed in both directions.

Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga told City News Service the eastbound truck began to jackknife for unknown reasons, losing its load of steel pipes across the eastbound lanes and into the No. 1 lane on the westbound side. The truck's trailer also overturned on the freeway, but its cab remained standing.

"The tour bus driver veered to try and avoid the pipes but the driver slammed into the pipes and overturned in the westbound lanes," Kasinga said.

Kasinga said four people were confirmed dead.

CHP Officer Jason Girard said three people were airlifted to hospitals, four were transported by ambulance and 14 were taken by bus to be checked out.

Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit expressed his condolences and support for the victims' families, and talked with staff at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where some of the victims were being treated.

"Riverside County extends its support and stands ready to assist in any way," he said.

Girard said officers obtained statements from both the truck driver and bus driver, and no arrests had been made.

Kasinga said the wreck was still under investigation, and it was not immediately clear if speed, sleep-deprivation or intoxicants played a role in the crash.

"We just don't know what happened yet," she said.

The freeway remained closed throughout much of the day.

"The eastbound lanes will open at approximately 4:00 p.m. and the opening of the westbound lanes is yet to be determined," a Caltrans alert issued at 4 p.m. stated.

Motorists heading in both directions are advised to use frontage roads. The detours are:

  • Eastbound traffic should use state Route 177 at Desert Center to state Route 62 and U.S. Route 95 back to with I-10.
  • Westbound traffic should use exit No. 1 just west of the state line then turn right onto Poston Road, go north for about 30 miles and turn left onto Agnes Wilson Road. Go about 10 miles, then take Route 95 back to I-10.

The bus -- carrying 32 people -- was owned by El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express, and Kasinga said it originated in El Paso. The bus also stopped in Phoenix and had been expected to arrive in downtown Los Angeles early this morning.

The Riverside County Fire Department sent chaplains to the site for counseling, according to Benoit's office.

According to the Red Cross, a hotline was set up for people to call for information on those affected by the crash -- (760) 921-2729.

– City News Service.

Sean Taroli May 21, 2014 at 04:00 PM
Holy sh*t!
Steve M May 21, 2014 at 07:51 PM
Yea, it's all Obama's fault I have quality healthcare.
ATC May 21, 2014 at 09:18 PM
What a crock of shit, for authorities to divert people 60-80 miles out of their way when it isn’t necessary. The accident happened nearly ½ mile west of the border station (look at the signs visible in the news video, and then look for those same signs on Google maps; I drive that route every time I go to the river). Just west of that border station (within 100’) westbound motorists can exit the freeway well before before getting to the accident scene, then take Hobsonway west along the north side of the Fwy to Intake Blvd, and then re-enter the freeway there. Eastbound motorists can exit at Intake Blvd, continue east on Donlon St (along the south side of the Fwy) and re-enter using the onramp past the accident scene just across from the border station. "THOSE" are the frontage roads and they are accessible and usable, and completely avoid the accident scene, yet authorities then tell people to take “detours” that go north all the way to Parker AZ. Every one of those authorities should be forced to drive an extra 80 miles when they head home tonight, just for the hell of it.


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