Three women in an SUV, a Greyhound bus full of passengers and a Honda were involved in a fatal crash early Thursday morning just outside Fresno California. On California Highway 99 around 2a.m. the dark blue SUV swerved and struck a median, then rolled and blocked the “fast lane” the central division chief for the California Highway Patrol, Jim Abrames reports.
A Greyhound bus that was heading from Los Angeles to Sacramento and had just left the Fresno station collided with the overturned SUV sending both vehicles over an embankment and into a eucalyptus tree. A silver Honda was also involved and landed under the tree as well.
Besides the 3 young women in the SUV, this accident claimed the lives of bus driver James Jewett, and passengers on the bus Epifania Solis and Thomas Ponce. The bus was carrying about 40 passengers, many of whom were injured in the collision and were treated at hospitals.
From Paul J. Hedlund, California bus crash attorney:
Bus transportation companies have a duty to provide the highest level of care in providing bus passengers a safe passage to their final destination. Although the investigation has just begun, there is rarely adequate justification for slamming into a center divider, much less a disabled vehicle, on a straight, dry roadway, especially when added vigilance is necessary when traveling at high speeds in the dark, and to ensure safe transport of ticketed bus passengers.
Other than the 3 deaths, only four people suffered major injuries. The three young women who lost their lives have been identified as Stephanie Cordoba age 20, Vanessa Gonzalez age 19; of Fresno and Sylvie Lopez Gray age 18 of Dinuba. It is unclear whether the 3 young women were killed when the bus collided with them of if they had died in the initial accident.
The cause of the initial accident involving the SUV and the median is unknown.