BLYTHE, Calif. - The driver of a big rig that set off a chain reaction of accidents, including a fatal bus rollover near Blythe, had convictions and citations for failing to keep a current log book and failing to get timely vehicle inspections, it was reported today.
The registration of the big rig owned by Victor Esteban Galvan expired in January, while Galvan's other violations included driving with an expired medical certificate and driving eight hours without a break, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.
Four passengers died and 22 were hospitalized after the eastbound bus veered to the right on Interstate 10 just east of Blythe to avoid a load of pipes that spilled from Galvan's big rig around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday.
The Interstate was blocked in both directions and did not fully re-open until 6 p.m. Wednesday.
A California Highway Patrol incident report said the bus, which began its journey in El Paso, with a stop in Phoenix before heading for Los Angeles, skidded across the right lane and right shoulder, through a fence and then 50 feet down a slight embankment, rolling onto its left side.
A CHP officer said Galvan was trying to pass slower vehicles on the Interstate when he drifted onto the dirt shoulder and lost control of the big rig. It jackknifed, spilling its load of pipes across both east and westbound lanes.
Two eastbound vehicles also struck the pipes and crashed, the CHP officer said, but their occupants were not injured.
The bus is owned by El Paso-Los Angeles Limousine Express and was originally due in Los Angeles at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.
The Press-Enterprise reported that Galvan was the owner of VG Transport, which he ran from his house in Rialto.
Neither Galvan nor the driver of the bus were injured in the accident.
The identities of the victims of the crash have yet to be released by the Riverside County coroner.