One person was killed and eight more injured in a Quartzsite bus crash in western Arizona. The crash occurred on Monday, July 3, at around 4:00 a.m. as the bus traveled along Interstate 10. According to reports, the tour bus rolled over, killing the driver and stopping traffic headed to California for around two hours. The Quartzsite bus crash and other recent bus accidents highlight the importance of bus safety.
Cause of Quartzsite Bus Crash Linked to Tire Failure
Speaking with reporters, Trooper Quentin Mehr, spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said the bus’ left, the front tire failed, which caused the bus driver to lose control of the vehicle. The bus then entered the median, veered up an embankment, and entered the westbound lanes where it stopped on its side.
The driver, identified as Donna M. Howard, was partially ejected in the crash and had not been wearing a seatbelt. Meanwhile, eight of the 13 passengers were sent to nearby hospitals, including hospitals in Phoenix and Parker Arizona, and Blythe, California, for treatment. They were all released shortly thereafter. The remaining five passengers did not suffer injuries in the Quartzsite bus crash.
Bus Involved in Arizona Crash Registered to Phantom Regiment
The tour bus was registered to the Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps, a group based out of Rockford, Illinois. Traveling on the bus involved in the accident were support staff for the musical group, but no performers. The corps and its support staff—including cooking and tour management teams—were traveling separately from Riverside, California, to Mesa, Arizona.
Phantom Regiment released a statement after the accident acknowledging the Quartzsite bus crash.
“The corps was on its way from Riverside, Calif., where it performed Sunday night, to its next show tonight in Mesa, Ariz. Several corps have offered their assistance to the Phantom Regiment organization. The Academy, a corps based in the Phoenix area, has provided volunteers and support. We have also received offers of assistance from corps on the same tour as well as others across the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with our drivers’ family and all those affected.”
Following the crash, Phantom Regiment canceled their Monday night performance. A moment of silence was planned for the bus driver.
Police Investigating Cause of Bus Crash and Tire Failure
It is not yet known what caused the tire to fail, but officials have said the bus was the only vehicle involved in the Quartzsite bus crash. Although tire failure is considered a contributing factor, police are still investigating the circumstances that led up to the accident.
Second Fatal Bus Crash in a Month
Less than a month ago, a bus crash in Atlanta took the life of a teenager who was on her way to a mission trip in Botswana. The crash happened on June 8 as a bus was carrying a group of teenagers and adults from Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Alabama to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sarah Harmening, a 17-year-old, was the sole fatality in the crash. According to reports, the bus driver attempted to change lanes but hit a vehicle traveling in the next lane. The bus then rolled over and collided with a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Thirty-nine people were taken to Atlanta-area hospitals for injuries ranging from broken bones to internal injuries.
The bus driver faces charges including second-degree homicide by vehicle and failure to maintain lane.
Meanwhile, in April, a crash between a charter bus and a pickup truck took the life of a track coach. The crash happened on April 30, 2017, in Hudspeth County, Texas near Dell City. The bus was traveling west on Highway 62/180 and carrying members of the Irvin High School track team. An eastbound pickup truck moved into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with the bus. The driver of the pickup truck died, as did the high school track coach.
Bus Accident Attorney
Passengers on tour buses rely on those buses to be in safe working order and properly maintained. This is especially important because buses do not necessarily come with the same safety features as other passenger vehicles, features such as seatbelts. Although safety advocates have argued that seatbelts on buses should be mandatory, there are still many buses that do not have seatbelts, putting passengers at risk of ejection in the case of a bus crash.
Attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman continue to advocate for bus safety and fight to ensure those harmed in a bus crash receive the compensation they are entitled to. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a bus crash, our attorneys are available to discuss your options with you.