As the number of casinos on tribal lands continues to increase, more and
more commercial bus operators are offering day-long, weekend, or even
longer charters. Unfortunately, this increase in demand has led some charter
operators to “cut a few corners” when it comes to vehicle safety.
In this post the casino charter bus accident lawyer at
The Doan Law Firm reviews several recent “high profile” casino charter bus accidents
and then discusses some of the legal issues related to who may be liable
for damages following such accidents.
November 14, 2018: Mississippi, 2 dead and 44 injured
Two women passengers from the Huntsville, AL, area were killed when the
driver of their charter bus lost control of the vehicle on an ice-covered
overpass on Interstate 269 in Byhalia, MS. Witnesses to the accident said
that the bus rolled onto its driver-side before coming to rest in the
highway’s median. An additional 44 passengers were reported to have
been injured and had been transported to area hospitals.
A press release issued by the Mississippi Highway Patrol stated that the
bus was registered by Teague VIP Express of Anniston, AL and was enroute
to a casino in Tunica, MS when the accident occurred. According to the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website, Teague vehicles
had not been involved in an accident in the 24 months prior to the Byhalia
accident although there were unconfirmed reports that the company had
previously been cited for safety issues.
September 18, 2017: New York, 3 dead and 17 injured
Kum Gang Tours, Inc. aka/dba Dahlia Group Inc., was the owner of a casino
charter bus whose driver ran a red light in New York City’s Flushing
neighborhood and plowed into the back of a city bus — killing the
charter bus driver and two others – and injuring an additional 17.
It was later discovered that the bus driver, Raymond Mong, was a previously-convicted
drunk driver and
should not have been permitted to drive.
According to published sources, the company that owned the bus was no stranger
to both the state and federal Departments of Transportation. The
New York Daily News has reported that, since the Flushing accident, the company’s drivers
have been cited 13 times, in multiple neighboring states, for violations
such as driving more than 15 mph above the posted speed limits and keeping
false drivers’ hours in service records.
March 7, 2017: Mississippi, 4 dead and 41 injured
A charter bus carrying 49 passengers on a weeklong trip to casinos in Louisiana
and Mississippi, including  from the Bastrop (TX) Senior Center, became
stuck at a railroad crossing and was struck by a CSX Railroad freight
train. Four passengers were killed and an additional 41 were injured.
The charter bus was operated by Echo Tours and Charters LP of Dallas,
TX. According to
published reports, the company’s vehicles had been involved in 6 reported accidents
in the previous 2 years and also had 24 citations filed against the company
and/or its drivers.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later determined that a
lack of communication between the City of Biloxi and CSX was “probably”
why the roadway at the crossing was left at a height that caused the bus’s
undercarriage to become stuck on the railroad track before the fatal collision.
October 23, 2016: California, 13 dead and 31 injured
A charter bus returning to the Los Angeles area from a day trip to the
Red Earth Casino near Salton City in the early morning hours of October
23, 2016 hit the rear of a non-moving tractor-trailer rig at an estimated
speed of 75 miles per hour. The accident killed 13, including the bus
driver, and injured another 31.
Investigators from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the NTSB later
determined that CHP officers had briefly stopped traffic on Interstate
10 to assist workers who were relocating power lines. Among the vehicles
that were stopped was a tractor-trailer rig being driven by Bruce Guilford.
It was later determined that Guilford, whom CHP investigators said was
in violation of federal driver on-duty/off-duty regulations, fell asleep
behind the wheel and his rig remained stopped after normal traffic flow resumed.
The bus owner/driver, Teodulo Elias Vides, himself had only about 4 hours
sleep in the 30 hours prior to the accident and that this sleep deprivation
caused a delay in his ability to recognize that the tractor-trailer rig
was not moving. Guilford was later indicted in Riverside County on multiple
charges, including 13 counts of felony negligent vehicular homicide.
How these bus accidents are handled by lawyers
In each of the cases mentioned above, driver error appears to have been
the primary factor that led to a multi-fatality accident and, with the
exception of the most recent case, driver fatigue or gross carelessness
will probably lead to wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits being
successfully filed against the bus driver and the driver’s employer.
However, if a bus company was lax in its duty to provide a safe vehicle
and a safe driver for public use, that company may
not have had the minimum amount of liability insurance required by federal
and state law.
Regardless of the bus company’s insurance status, if multiple lawsuits
are filed over the same accident there will probably not be enough coverage
to satisfy all the claims made and/or judgements returned. Should this
be the case, all claims and other actions will be settled on a “first
come” basis. It is thus in an accident victim’s best interest
to file a lawsuit as soon as possible after the accident with the help
of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Contacting a Casino Charter Bus Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member were injured while aboard a casino charter bus
accident, we invite you to
contact our casino charter bus accident lawyer to discuss the circumstances or your injury and to review the actions
that may be available to you so that you can secure a fair compensation
for your injury and other losses.
When you contact our firm, you case review is always free of any charge
and does not obligate you to hire us to manage your potential charter
bus injury lawsuit. Should you decide that you would like us to represent
you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for preparing
your case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement
that we will win for you.