Atwater Bus Crash: Survivor Leonardo Sanchez Woke Up To Bags Of Body Parts!
Five people were killed and 18 others were injured when a bus crashed on Highway 99 near Liberty Drive.Advertisement
A charter bus traveling from Mexico to Pasco, Washington, swerved sharply and struck a pole, which went through the vehicle and almost sliced it in half, in the early morning hours of Tuesday.
Of the 30 passengers on the bus at the time of the crash, six were transported to the area hospitals.
The driver of the bus has been identified as 57-year-old Mario David Vasquez.
Leonardo Sanchez, one of the passengers on the bus, was sent face first into the back of the seat in front of him when the crash occurred. He rose to utter chaos on the bus.
“There was lots of screaming and crying,” Sanchez said after the crash. The Washington Post reports he said he was among eight people who were able to escape the scene unhurt.
“The rest of them, the police and ambulances arrived to get them out. And the dead,” he said.
According to Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, “bags of body parts” were pulled from the bus.
Among the 18 injured, three people were in critical condition but have since been classified as serious. Three others remain in fair condition. The others have sustained less serious injuries.
Operated by Autobuses Coordinados USA, the bus in question was traveling towards Washington state on State Route 99. It was supposed to have a driver switch in the industrial town of Livingston. However, it was late for the change of drivers. The bus veered off course shortly before 3:30 a.m.
Highway 99 northbound has been closed. In the subsequent updates, it was reported that two lanes of Highway 99 northbound were open to public.
As reported by KMPH-KFRE, three violations had been issued on the bus involved in the crash. Listed on April 28 this year, the violations included: absence of a defective brake warning device; the bus had prohibited or non-automatically folding seats in the aisle; and the bus needed to have its parts and accessories inspected or repaired.
Violations listed on February 5, 2015 for the same bus included having inoperative required lamps and a damaged or discolored windshield.