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Big Rig Driver Charged With Manslaughter and Gross Negligence After Causing “Deadliest Crash in California in Decades”

Last October, a tour bus load of people was heading home to Los Angeles on Route 10 after spending a night at the casino located near the Salton Sea, southeast of San Diego. Most passengers, tired from a night of gambling, had fallen asleep. However, they were rudely awakened shortly before dawn to screams and screeching that was the result of metal grinding against metal.

13 passengers were killed that Sunday morning, when their tour bus, going 76 mph, collided with a parked big rig near Palm Springs. 29 people were injured. Authorities would dub it the “deadliest crash in California in decades.”

Nearly One Year Later, Big Rig Driver is Charged

In the nearly one whole year since that fateful day, investigators have been hard at work trying to determine the cause of the accident. It turns out that the driver of the semi, Bruce Guilford, had fallen asleep behind the wheel of his truck when road construction caused traffic to come to a standstill. Guilford had put his parking brake on beforedozing off. When the construction team removed its cones and traffic proceeded, Guilford remained asleep. The bus driver, not noticing that Guilford’s big rig was not moving, made no move to stop. The bus rammed into the back of the semi-trailer going full speed.

Apparently, Guilford had violated 20 different hours-of-service regulations, which are in place to prevent driver fatigue and the accidents the conditions have been known to cause. According to investigators, Guilford regularly drove beyond the maximum driving time permitted and lied about it on his daily logs. He was arrested on October 19, 2017 and charged with vehicular manslaughter, reckless driving, and gross negligence for falling aslpeep while stopped.  Is that a bit of a stretch?. His bail is set at $500,000.

When Big Rig Drivers are Negligent

 Some will say charging Guilford with such serious crimes is too much.  Whether a big rig collides with another big rig, a bus, or a recreational vehicle, the results are almost always catastrophic. Driver fatigue is the leading cause of trucking accidents, which is why so many regulations are in place to prevent it. When a truck crash does occur, the trucker and his or her company (if there is one), will be subject to strict scrutiny. If it is discovered that any regulations were violated, there is a good chance the trucker will be held liable. In addition to having to pay the victims and the families compensation for injuries and losses, the driver, and possibly the transportation company will have to pay a fine, and the driver quite possibly serve jail time. In many cases, these punishments are small in comparison to taking or ruining someone’s life.

What to do if You are Injured in a Big Rig Accident

 If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, you stand a good chance of recovering considerable compensation for your injuries or losses. However, you need to talk with an experienced Riverside truck accident lawyer immediately. Do not delay!  Passing of time or loss of evidence can only hurt your case.  At Heiting & Irwin, APLC, our compassionate attorneys will  work hard to obtain a positive outcome for you and your family/friends. In many instances, this means  using our in-house private investigator, spending countless hours gathering evidence, interviewing and engaging expert witnesses, and fighting on your behalf in court.

To see how we can help you in your time of need, schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.

We serve San Bernardino, Riverside Counties, Southern California, and all of California.

Richard Irwin

Mr. Irwin is a recognized specialist in Workers’ Compensation law. He has been certified as a specialist by the State Bar of California since 1995. He limits his practice to handling only workers’ compensation cases.
View Attorney Richard Irwin’s Attorney Bio Here.

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