Sat, Feb 09 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the Feb. 3 crash of a National City-owned tour bus that killed and injured several passengers.
The motor coach crashed on Highway 38 in San Bernardino County, killing at least seven passengers and injuring more than two dozen, according to an article in the LA Times.
Scapadas Magicas was cited with several serious violations within the past year and was flagged as a priority for intervention action and roadside inspection, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The tour bus was operating under a contract with Tijuana-based InterBus Tours and Charters, according to its website.
The company has 10 drivers and operates five units, four more than the average for all trucking and transportation services, records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revealed.
The owner of National City-based Scapadas Magicas, Ramon Ramirez, has one civil suit against him filed Oct. 18, 2011.
Board spokesman Eric Weiss said the investigation would be comprehensive and take a while to complete.
“CHP says their report will take months,” Weiss said. “Our reports often take more than a year.”
Weiss said the investigation is split up into two parts.
“We’re looking at company records and maintenance, interviewing employees in the San Diego area and looking at the (crash) area involved,” he said.
Board Washington D.C. spokesman Keith Holloway said Wednesday that exactly what caused the bus to crash is what’s under investigation.
“We’re on scene gathering information but we won’t determine a cause at this early stage in the investigation,” Holloway said.
Scapadas has a current satisfactory safety rating as of Dec. 17, 2012, however, a review of the company’s vehicle maintenance revealed Scapadas scored worse than 74 percent of other U.S. bus companies, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
InterBus Tours posted a statement on their Facebook page on Monday saying, “INTERBUS Tours and his team are working to support our clients and their families that unfortunately suffered an accident coming down from the mountains of Big Bear in San Bernardino CA … We deeply regret the happened.”
Scapadas Magicas LLC is located at 3200 Highland Avenue in National City.
© 2009 The Star-News