A charter bus returning 22 people from a women’s church retreat overturned and crashed on Sunday afternoon in the San Bernardino Mountains, leaving an estimated 21 people with injuries. The church bus crash was initially reported at around 2:10 p.m. on California State Route 330, not far from Highland, California.
Local news agencies have said the charter bus was one of several transporting an estimated 200 women back to Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Llamada Final church in Downey after an annual mountain retreat.
According to a spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a 2000 El Dorado bus collided with the rear of a Nissan Versa passenger vehicle before losing control of the vehicle. The bus ended up overturning onto its side, blocking both lanes of State Route 330. No one in the Nissan was injured in the accident.
Authorities said 21 people were taken by ambulance to Loma Linda University Medical Center in the aftermath of the church bus crash, including seven who sustained serious injuries. Emergency responders arrived at the scene and immediately began working to evacuate passengers that were trapped in the church bus. A triage unit was set up near the church bus crash site to tend to the injured passengers. It took about four hours before road crews were able to clear the wreckage.
What May Have Caused the Church Bus Crash in San Bernardino County?
At this time, officials have not commented on the cause of Sunday’s church bus crash on State Route 330. Investigators have taken the bus wreckage into custody to look for any signs of mechanical failure. They also plan to interview the bus driver.
According to the San Bernardino Sun, several emergency responders reported smelling the distinct odor of overheated brakes when they arrived at the scene of the church bus crash. Another witness told an Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Llamada Final churchgoer, that she saw smoking tires as the accident was unfolding.
Officials likely won’t release the cause of the church bus crash for months, as it will take some time for a full investigation to be completed.
A spokesperson from Iglesia de Cristo Ministerios Llamada Final said all of the women who were hospitalized are expected to be released from Loma Linda on Monday.
Site of Sunday’s Church Bus Crash Only Miles Away From 2013 Scapadas Magicas Bus Accident
The site of Sunday’s church bus crash was 20 miles away from another serious bus accident in 2013, which involved a Scapadas Magicas tour bus returning to Tijuana, Mexico after a daylong excursion to the San Bernardino Mountains.
On the way back from the trip, the bus driver lost control and collided with a Saturn passenger vehicle before it veered off the road and overturned onto its side. As the bus was sliding on its side, it hit a boulder, which knocked the bus upright again. It was then that the bus slammed into a Ford pickup truck head-on.
News agencies would report that six passengers were ejected from the bus in the midst of the crash. Eight people were killed and dozens were injured, some critically.
Nearly three years after this tragedy, law enforcement officials arrested the bus driver, 55-year-old Norberto Bravo Perez, citing gross negligence. According to the criminal complaint against Perez, he was driving “in an unlawful manner” prior to the accident.
Perez is facing eight counts of felony vehicular manslaughter. If he is convicted, he could face a maximum jail sentence of 15 years.
Driver Cited in Church Bus Crash in South Odessa, Texas
May 4, 2016
A church bus crash earlier this month in South Odessa, Texas left three people with injuries. The accident was reported on Wednesday, May 4 at the intersection of Hudson Avenue and East Myrtle Avenue.
According to local law enforcement officials, 34-year-old Joshua Carpenter of Odessa was driving a 1997 Ford bus northbound on Hudson Avenue at around 6:25 p.m. when he failed to stop at the intersection stop sign.
The church bus entered the intersection, forcing the driver of a 2016 Nissan Versa passenger vehicle to swerve in order to avoid a collision. The driver of the Nissan, 24-year-old Jaqaula Palmer of Odessa, then slammed into the 2007 Mitsubishi Galant passenger vehicle that was stopped at the stop sign on the southbound side of Hudson Avenue.
Palmer and her passenger, 29-year-old Loretta Allen, both sustained minor injuries in the church bus crash. The driver of the Galant, 40-year-old Nekeidra Butler of Midland, was also injured. All three women were taken by ambulance to Medical Center Hospital for treatment.
According to the Odessa American, Carpenter was cited by law enforcement for failing to yield the right-of-way.