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Bus passenger describes terror before Calif. crash

February 4, 2013 • Business


Skid marks from a tour bus are seen Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, after the bus, background, collided with two other vehicles and crashed Sunday, killing at least eight people and injuring 38, on Highway 38 just north of Yucaipa, Calif. The bus was carrying a tour group from Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

YUCAIPA, Calif. (AP) — The bus full of tired tourists returning to Tijuana, Mexico, was slowly winding its way down a mountain road after a day playing in the snow at the ski resort town of Big Bear when it suddenly picked up speed. The driver shouted to call 911 — the brakes had failed.

As passengers frantically tried to get a cellphone signal, a group of teenage girls shrieked and prayed aloud as others cried and shielded their heads as they careened downhill.

The bus rear-ended a Saturn sedan, swerved, flipped and slid on its side. A Ford pickup in the oncoming lane plowed into it, righting the bus and tossing passengers out shattered windows before it came to a halt.

“Everything happened so fast. When the bus spun everything flew, even the people,” said Gerardo Barrientos, who was next to his girlfriend one minute and then scrambling out of the wreckage the next trying to find her and a friend in the highway. Both were injured but alive.

Seven people were killed and about three dozen injured Sunday night in the accident 80 miles east of Los Angeles. The dead included 13-year-old Victor Cabrera-Garcia; Elvira Garcia Jimenez, 40; and Guadalupe Olivas, 61, all of San Diego; Login to read more

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