Crashed Bus Owner Failed One-Third Of Safety Inspections

By: AP/CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: AP/CBS (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
U.S. government records show that buses operated by the firm Scapadas Magicas of National City, Calif., flunked 36 percent of random inspections on their vehicles — in some cases for brake and tire problems.

Investigators work the scene of a bus crash that happened overnight on Highway 38 which killed at least 8 people, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez said that the number of confirmed deaths was expected to rise because the coroner was just starting to remove bodies from the mangled vehicles and also take away the remains of those who were ejected. / AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Stan Lim

YUCAIPA, Calif. (CBS/AP) The company linked to a tour bus involved in a deadly crash in Southern California failed more than a third of federal vehicle safety inspections in the last two years.

U.S. government records show that buses operated by the firm Scapadas Magicas of National City, Calif., flunked 36 percent of random inspections on their vehicles — in some cases for brake and tire problems.

That's higher than the national average for similar companies — a 21 percent failure rate.

Records also show the company had no crashes in the past two years.

The California company had an overall "satisfactory" rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, but records show three-quarters of similar companies had better safety records.

Lettering on the 1996 bus indicates it was operated by Scapadas Magicas.

At least seven people were killed in Sunday night's crash. More than three dozen people were injured, and at least 17 were still hospitalized, including at least five in critical condition. One is a girl.

Authorities lowered the death count from 8 to 7 on Monday.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to the scene.

CBS Station KCBS reports that the bus, carrying dozens of men, women and children from Tijuana, was on its way back to Mexico Sunday evening after a day in Big Bear when the driver lost control just after 6:30 p.m., about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Investigators say the bus flipped and landed on a pickup truck towing a trailer. A black Saturn was also rear-ended.

The crash left State Route 38 littered with body parts and debris, and the bus sideways across both lanes with its windows blown out, front end crushed and part of the roof peeled back like a tin can.

One person in the pickup truck was injured. The fate of the passengers in the car was not clear, but at least two people were in the Saturn, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez.

Investigators will determine if mechanical failure or driver error was to blame. The bus driver, who survived but was injured, told investigators the vehicle had brake problems.

"It appears speed was a factor in this collision," said Lopez.

Crews worked through the night to recover the dead, but one body remained aboard the bus early Monday, said Rocky Shaw, a San Bernardino County coroner's investigator.

Officials hadn't been able to retrieve the body because the front end of the bus was dangling over the edge of the roadside.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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