Ill-fated Bus in El Paso Operating Illegally

Ill-fated Bus in El Paso Operating Illegally

POSTED: Saturday, March 6, 2010 - 6:00am

UPDATED: Monday, March 8, 2010 - 12:12am

El Paso - The bus that travelled through El Paso and rolled over on a busy interstate outside Phoenix, killing six people and leaving 16 others injured early Friday, was operating illegally, federal transportation officials said.

The operator of the bus - Van Nuys, Calif.-based Tierra Santa Inc. - was told in April not "to engage in the interstate
transportation of passengers by commercial motor vehicle."

That notice, sent via certified mail, came just days after the company submitted an application to the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to be a passenger carrier. The company's application was denied Dec. 14, federal officials said.

The bus in Friday's accident was traveling from the central Mexican state of Zacatecas to Los Angeles. It entered the United States at El Paso, Texas, and was traveling westbound on Interstate 10 with 22 passengers when it hit
a pickup, veered onto the left shoulder of the road, then overcorrected in the opposite direction and rolled once before landing on its wheels.

The roof of the bus was crushed and all of its windows were knocked out.

The crash occurred about 5:30 a.m. MST on the Gila River Indian Reservation near the community of Sacaton, some 25 miles south of downtown Phoenix. Two men and four women were thrown about 10 yards from the bus and killed.

Police said the rollover triggered a second accident when another pickup slowed and was hit by a sedan. One person from the car was taken to a hospital.

Arizona Department of Public Safety officials said their investigation will include whether the driver was fatigued, as well as the maintenance history of the bus.

Federal investigators were reviewing Tierra Santa's safety operations at the company's Van Nuys office.

A man who answered the phone Friday at Tierra Santa declined to identify himself, and said in Spanish that the company is meeting with authorities about the crash and he couldn't comment. He declined to answer when asked about whether the company was operating illegally.

Nine patients were in critical condition at Phoenix-area hospitals, some with injuries ranging from broken spines and pelvises to head injuries, according to the hospitals.

The driver of the bus was in serious condition. An 11-year-old boy was in guarded condition, and four people were in good condition. The condition of two more people at a local hospital was not released.

Alex Porras said his sister, Jasmine Porras, was coming back from a two-week vacation in Mexico.

The 25-year-old had just graduated from Arizona State University with a nursing degree and was hoping to start working soon, he said. She was critically injured.

"I was shocked when I got the call," a red-eyed Porras told The Associated Press at Maricopa Medical Center. "We're really worried."

Both westbound lanes of I-10 were closed for several hours near the scene of the wreck, which quickly became a mass of police and rescue personnel as ambulances arrived.

Medics set up a triage area in the middle of the interstate, and medical helicopters landed on the road to airlift the most critically injured to area hospitals.

Comments News Comments

Posh, but no te enojes! JOE,'forgive'. USA GIRL, U're only human/and right on. JUST_THUMPER, bus WAS NOT allowed; but in Mexico, that means: "So What?!" SURFER, don't take it so personal. BROWN AND PROUD, You = the most ignorant. Soon you/ yours won't have jobs either. Hard working?!?! Did you learn THAT from Univision? REDNECK, U're right on! & lastly, RDNKSPCK69, Why are you insulting everyone? You seem 2-b the stupidest. Mxcan drivers = careless, sleepy, dosing off. Ever traveled w/them?

to those of you ignorant s. o. b's out there. if there was anybody on that bus that was an illegal immigrant they would have been pulled out of the bus at the border patrol checkpoints at the border and at the checkpoints outside of el paso. so to all you ignorant as_holes out there, get the facts straight before you open your mouth.

Way to go Redneck, you took the words out of my mouth!....Just Thumper INSURANCE do they even know that word....It is all us Legal US CITZEN'S THAT HAVE INSURANCE...If the USA don't make them have insurance then why would they get it.....I have never lived near a "boarderland" before and know just as soon as the Army can move me I will be I always in El Paso is really living in EL PASO MEXICO!!!!!

Now all the banged-up wetbacks on the bus are going to get green cards because they are poor victims of exploitation.

Don't be upset that your toothless, cousin/mom lost her job to a hard working Mexican.

Don't only read, but understand. The bus was opperating illegally, not the passangers. Also, have some respect for those who died.

Why is it that the bus was allowed in the US anyway? Didn't they have to show proof of insurance?

I knew when I read this yesterday, it was just a matter of time that something fishy would come out....I am sure coming from Mexico into the United States that all those on that bus were coming into the United States Illegal.

The people were not illegal! it was the bus company working illegaly! get it straight!

Are you stupid or you just can't read? Because it says the bus was operating illegally meaning certain safety measures were not approved or something of that sort which is why their application was denied. Never did the they say the passengers were illegal. In case you also overlooked there was a college graduate on board with a nursing degree, you think she's illegal as well? Next time read carefully before you post "usagirl"

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