If tour bus company owner-driver Teodulo Elias Vides hadn't been one of 13 people killed in a horrific crash on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, Calif., on Sunday, authorities would probably have some tough questions for him. Authorities say half the tires on the bus he was driving, including both steer axle tires, were worn down to an unsafe level, which would have been enough for inspectors to take the bus out of service, the AP reports. The bus, which was on its way to Los Angeles from the Red Earth Casino in Salton Sea Beach, plowed into the back of a big rig and it's not clear whether Vides attempted to brake first. The full National Transportation Safety Board investigation could take up to a year.
Vides, 59, had been sued twice for negligence over incidents involving his USA Holiday company, which is listed as having just one bus, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a 2007 incident, three people died when a USA Holiday bus hit a Honda Civic on a freeway in Riverside, Calif. The company also received at least six "unsatisfactory" ratings from the California Highway Patrol for issues including maintenance, and Vides had several traffic citations on his record. The victims, whose ages range from 50 to 72, were mostly seated near the front of the bus, reports the Press Enterprise. Another 31 people were injured.