Trucker arrested for California bus crash that killed 13

2017-10-21 07:00
The scene of the crash near Palm Springs last year. (KMIR-TV via AP)

The scene of the crash near Palm Springs last year. (KMIR-TV via AP)

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Indio - A trucker charged with killing 13 people after a Southern California tour bus rear-ended his big-rig on a freeway last year was arrested on Thursday in Georgia.

Bruce Guilford, 51, of Georgia was taken into custody by a US Marshals Service fugitive task force, the Riverside County district attorney's office announced.

A day earlier, Guilford was charged with 13 counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence; 12 counts of felony reckless driving causing injury and 17 misdemeanour counts of reckless driving causing injury.

It was unclear whether Guilford had a lawyer or when he would be extradited to California.

Guilford was arrested only days before the anniversary of the October 23 crash near Palm Springs.

He was behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer rig that had stopped on Interstate 10 about 100 miles east of Los Angeles because of utility work, but prosecutors said he failed to move after the road was reopened.

A tour bus carrying gamblers back from a desert casino in Thermal to Los Angeles ploughed into the rear of the truck.

A California Highway Patrol investigation determined that the bus was doing 76 mph.

The impact was so great that the truck trailer ended up about 15 feet into the bus, CHP officials said at the time.

The crash killed the bus driver and a dozen passengers and injured about 30 other people, including Guilford.

The CHP investigation determined that Guilford had fallen asleep after working illegally long hours, prosecutors contend.

According to Riverside County prosecutors, CHP investigators determined that in the four days before the crash, Guilford had driven well over the permitted maximum number of hours, tried to hide the violations by falsifying his daily log and had, at best, only seven possible hours of sleep in the 24 hours before the crash.

"Investigators say it is unlikely he actually slept during those sleep opportunities," according to a statement from the Riverside County district attorney's office.

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