May 18, 2008

Bus overturns in Calif. desert, 1 dead, 22 hurt

Associated Press

LUDLOW, Calif. (AP) — A casino trip turned deadly when a charter bus overturned on a Mojave Desert freeway, killing a woman and injuring 22 others.

The bus was heading to the gambling town of Laughlin, Nev. on Saturday when it crashed about three miles east of the town of Ludlow, about 115 miles southwest of Las Vegas, San Bernardino County Fire Department spokeswoman Tracey Martinez said.

"There were no other vehicles involved," she said.

Faith Creer, 31, of Los Angeles was flung from the bus after it veered from Interstate 40 onto a dirt median, toppled on its side and skidded 100 feet, California Highway Patrol Officer Taj Johnson said.

Eight other people were severely injured and 14 had minor to moderate injuries. The driver was among the injured, who were all adults.

Authorities shut down the interstate's eastbound lanes for several hours. Helicopters and ambulances, some from nearby military bases, transported the injured to hospitals.

Investigators were studying skid marks and hoped to talk to the driver to determine the cause of the crash.

The bus is owned by Royal American Tours & Charter of Glendale. It was not immediately clear what group had chartered the bus, and a man who answered the phone at Royal American's office said he did not have any details about the trip or the crash. The bus had picked up its passengers at a mall in Culver City.