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I-Team: New information in fiery crash involving tour bus & truck

New information revealed in crash involv

CACTUS CITY, Calif. - A longtime truck and tour bus driver, Tim Adams works as a safety coordinator for Lin Lines in Palm Springs. 

He said he remembers watching a crash on Interstate 10 near Cactus City Wednesday between a truck and tour bus unfold. 

"I was praying that there were no severe injuries or fatalities," Adams said. "I always have that in my mind, because of the position I'm in with my company."

The bus was carrying three dozen young cheerleaders and from Los Angeles to Phoenix. 

Wednesday's crash sent the bus driver and three girls to a local hospital with minor injuries and backed up both sides of the freeway for hours. 

News Channel 3 I-Team investigator Zak Dahlheimer uncovered the names of the companies involved in the crash, and recent federal safety records. 

According to California Highway Patrol (CHP), the trucking company is Old Dominion Freight Line located in Thomasville, North Carolina. 

Information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) showed it's latest safety rating was satisfactory, and dated back to September 1995.

According to data from the last two years, the company has been involved in more than 630 crashes nationwide, with more than 9,700 drivers on the road. 

19 of those crashes were fatal. 

CHP officers said the tour bus company is ET Limousines out of Phoenix, Arizona. 

Its documents showed zeros in categories including inspections, crash data and safety rating.

KESQ and CBS Local 2 reached out to both companies for comment, but they did not return our calls. 

Adams said he commends the bus driver, Manuel Valdivia of Phoenix, for keeping everyone on board safe. 

"Due to the uneven surfaces, it's not easy to keep the vehicle upright even in a regular car," he said. "Because that particular vehicle is hard to control, being that it's upright, (and) it has a different center of balance based on the vehicle."

He said his message moving forward for all drivers is to always be prepared. 

"It can happen at any time, and you have to be physically and mentally prepared when you're out on the road," he said. 

CHP officers also released the name of the truck driver, Rene Aragon of Fontana, California. 

Aragon escaped the truck without any injuries. 

KESQ and CBS Local 2 reached out to Desert Regional Medical Center on the status of Valdivia and the three cheerleaders injured -- but did not hear of any updates. 

The mobile app, SaferBus, provides FMCSA information for people to look up on smartphones. For more information on the app, click here

 

 


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