Authorities identify victims of Palm Springs tour bus crash

PALM SPRINGS (KUSI) — Officials released the names of 11 of the 13 passengers killed in a bus crash near Palm Springs early Sunday that left several others injured.

Isabel Jimenez Hernandez, 66, Rosa Ruiz, 53, Gustavo Green, 62, Zoila Aguilera, 72, Teodulo Vides, 59, Milagros Gozales, 72, Aracely Tije, 63, Yolanda Mendoza, 69, Dora Galvez de Rodriguez, 69, Elvia Sanchez, 52, and Ana Gomes de Magallon, 71 — all from Los Angeles — and Conception Corvera, 57, from Palmdale, were killed when a bus smashed into the back of a truck that may have slowed for construction work on Interstate 10 north of Palm Springs before sunrise Sunday.

One man and one woman remained unidentified and several people remained hospitalized for injuries resulting from the crash — four in critical condition.

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs received 14 injured victims and Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage received 12 Sunday. Others were sent to John F Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio.

Related Link: 13 dead in fatal tour bus, semi-truck crash in Palm Springs

Several injured suffered few broken bones but severe facial trauma. A trauma surgeon said that the injuries suffered by many in in the crash could indicate the bus was slowing down at the time of the crash, but is also common for those not wearing seat belts.

The bus had taken gamblers on a junket to the Red Earth Casino, at Salton City, about 25 miles south of Indio. It was returning them to the Los Angeles area, but the exact location was not immediately released.

The crash was reported to the CHP at 5:17 a.m. By 10:30 a.m., a crane and a huge tow truck had pulled the vehicles apart. The truck’s trailer has heavy insulation, but it appeared to have been empty at the time of the crash.

It was not known if alcohol, drugs or fatigue played a role in the crash, but the bus was inspected in April and had no mechanical issues, CHP Border Division Chief Jim Abele said. The bus driver was killed, and the truck driver received minor injuries.

"In almost 35 years, I’ve never been to a crash where there’s been confirmed 13 confirmed fatals," Abele said. The impact was so severe that workers needed more than an hour to search for all of the bodies in the mangled coach. "So it’s tough for all of us, the CHP personnel who handle it, the firefighters who handle it, it’s been rough," Abele said.

Categories: Local San Diego News