Casino Bus crashes in Mississippi and Nevada add to deadly weekend for U.S. Bus operators

Investigators examine a Harrah's Casino bus that crashed in in Tunica, Miss., Sunday morning.
Investigators examine a Harrah's Casino bus that crashed in in Tunica, Miss., Sunday morning.

So what’s going on here? Are we so fixated on legally operated, safe Mexican Cross Border trucks that we totally ignore the commercial bus industry in the United States?

On the heels of Friday morning deadly crash in Sherman Texas that killed 17 and injured more than 35 people when the recapped steering tire blew out on a charter bus being illegally operated by Angel Tours of Houston, we have two more incidents involving motor coaches.

A casino bus also was involved in an accident Sunday in Mississippi that killed three people and injured more than 30.

The bus belonging to Harrah’s Tunica was carrying 43 people when it overturned at an intersection in Tunica, authorities said. Rain was falling at the time but Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Leslie White would not speculate on the cause of the wreck.

And south of Las Vegas, tire failure may have caused a casino worker shuttle bus crash that injured 29 people, a Nevada Highway Patrol officer said today.

It’s still early in the investigation, but officers have found evidence of tread separation on the left front tire of the full-sized bus, Trooper Kevin Honea said.

Three people remained in critical condition today at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, including the driver, said spokeswoman Tammy McMahan.

Herbst Gaming Inc. president Ferenc Szony said there were 33 employees on the chartered bus when it crashed Sunday night on Interstate 15 about eight miles south of the Las Vegas Strip. The bus was shuttling the workers to Las Vegas from the state-line town of Primm.

Wheels and suspension components were ripped from the bus and strewn across the highway, he said.

Every day, we see these buses flying by the scales, only a few states requires them to enter and then only at specific times, while the rest of us must comply with all of the Mickey Mouse BS the inspectors can come up with in the name of “safety”!

15 minutes ahead of your log bog? Big Asz fine! License plate light burnt out? Fix it but you gotta pay a FINE! The crap never ceases and these buses, with truely underpaid and in some cases undertrained drivers are allowed to work with expired medical certificates, the companies are permitted to operate under the radar until something like this happens.

Federal regulators are expected to meet in Houston today with the owner of the bus that crashed in north Texas, killing 17 passengers.

Angel de la Torre and his attorneys agreed to meet with representatives of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to answer questions.

One of the critical questions he will face is why he agreed to take the churchmembers to Carthage, Mo. when he knew the agency had barred his bus companies — Angel Tours and Iguala Busmex — from leaving Texas.

Another key question facing regulators is whether de la Torre’s $5 million insurance coverage for Angel Tours will transfer to Iguala. If not, the families of those hurt or killed in the crash early Friday may not receive compensation.

Meanwhile, in Sherman, investigators hope to get more information about the driver’s speed at the time of the crash on U.S. 75 once data is downloaded on Tuesday from the bus’s data recorder.

De la Torre has not responded to reporters’ requests for comment.

SO now, I am preparing for another trip to New Jersey this week, and I wonder if it will be business as usual or will we begin to see buses being pulled into the scale houses and inspected? I realize it might be an inconvenience to some to be delayed for the time it takes to do the inspection, but since Friday, there are 20 people who be will be delayed a hell of a lot longer.