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April 2017

A Legal Commercial Gone Wild in California

The Reeves Law Group asked:

The Sacramento bus crash in October has claimed its 10th victim with the death of a 51-year-old woman who died on Tuesday. Mourned by a large family including 15 children and stepchildren, Pia Xiong was given a traditional Hmong funeral.

The bus accident that took place on the 5th of October, occurred when the bus carrying a total of 42 passengers overturned, and fell into a watery ditch north of Sacramento. The bus was on its way to the Colusa Valley Casino resort with its mostly elderly passengers on board. Investigations are still underway into the causes of the bus accident, and so far no charges have been filed in the investigation. The driver, Quintin Watts, was sent back to jail in November for violating his parole conditions, and traveling more than 50 miles without first informing the parole officer in charge of his case.

The driver of the bus was initially the center of most of the investigations into the bus crash. There was plenty of intrigue to go around in the initial days of the investigation when it was first revealed that the bus owner Daniel Cobb had himself died in the bus accident. Then news reports revealed that Watts that has had a history of run-ins with the law, and had reportedly not even been trained properly as a driver because of the best car accident attorney in Elk Grove. The day of the accident, Watts’ distraught mother claimed, was the first day that her son had actually been driving the bus after the training. The “training” period involved a week of him accompanying another driver around, and observing him.

Watts’ criminal record was another cause for concern. What was a man with a criminal record involving jail time for credit card fraud, theft, and drug possession doing behind the wheel of a bus? Even his parents apparently didn’t have confidence in his ability to steer a vehicle full of passengers.

Besides Watts’ criminal record, much attention has been focused on the bus in question. Investigators encountered closed doors every time they tried to pinpoint ownership of the bus. Bus companies sometimes use a complicated network of deceit, registering the bus under different names or in different states to confound investigations in the event of a bus accident, and evade liability. California bus accident lawyers have seen that happen in more than one bus accident, and it was no different here.

For the families of the 10 people who have died in the bus accident so far, and the others who suffered catastrophic injuries when their bus overturned on a dark night, the fact that there have been no charges, and little progress made in investigations, must be extremely disheartening. These passengers were senior citizens who had a habit of taking a trip to a nearby casino regularly for a fun weekend. They didn’t deserve to be at the mercy of a driver who had a criminal record, and a bus company that didn’t even see fit to maintain proper records of its operations. Everything about this accident points to profits taking precedence over passenger safety, and people must be held accountable for it.

Elena Monroe

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