Third woman that was killed in Pala Mesa bus crash identified

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Authorities Tuesday publicly identified the third of three women killed in a weekend bus crash near Bonsall.

Cinthya Rodriguez Banda, 23, was riding in a charter vehicle that spun out of control on a rain-slick stretch of southbound Interstate 15 in Pala Mesa, overturned and tumbled down a roadside embankment shortly before 10:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Banda, whose place of residence was not specified, was ejected from the bus and died at the scene of the accident south of state Route 76. Also killed were Pasadena resident Julia Perez Cornejo, 73, and 67-year-old Maria De La Luz Diaz of Riverside.

The other 18 passengers, ranging in age from 5 to 75, were taken to hospitals, according to the California Highway Patrol. Eleven of them, including a young boy, were treated for major injuries.

The Tijuana-bound bus had picked up passengers in several cities, including El Monte, Baldwin Park, Pomona and Riverside. It was equipped with seat belts, though few of the occupants were wearing them at the time of the accident, CHP public-affairs Officer Mark Latulippe said.

The 52-year-old driver was questioned by investigators and voluntarily gave a blood sample, the CHP reported. The Whittier man, whose name was not released, was not believed to have been under the influence of any intoxicant when the crash occurred, Latulippe said.

There are no known reports of crashes involving the bus, and the records of the company that owns it indicate that it has passed all inspections over the past two years, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The damaged vehicle was towed to a CHP evidence yard to be inspected for mechanical problems that could have played a role in the deadly accident.

Categories: Local San Diego News, Traffic & Accidents