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A mother and daughter who survived a deadly bus crash near Yucaipa on Super Bowl weekend filed a lawsuit Friday, alleging the bus companies involved were negligent and failed to properly maintain their vehicles.
Multiple agencies prepare to remove the body of a deceased victim in the tour bus as they work clear the scene of the fatal bus crash site along Highway 38
Multiple agencies prepare to remove the body of a deceased victim in the tour bus as they work clear the scene of the fatal bus crash site along Highway 38 north of Yucaipa on Feb. 4. (Rachel Luna/Staff Photographer)

"We're alleging they were negligent either because the driver was going too fast or because the brakes failed or some combination," said Federico Sayre, whose Santa Ana-based firm represents Guillermina Morales and her daughter Pamela Morales.

The crash killed seven passengers and another man, Fred Richardson, 72, whose pickup truck was hit head-on by the bus, which had gone out of control on its way down Highway 38 after a trip to the snow in the San Bernardino Mountains.

San Jose-based attorney Fernando Chavez, whose firm partnered with Sayre, filed the complaint in San Bernardino Superior Court on Friday morning.

The Moraleses were two of the 38 passengers on the day trip from Tijuana to Big Bear Lake.

"It was a one-day charter; they left about 5 in the morning, and they were scheduled to return around 10 p.m." Chavez said.

At around 6:30 p.m., the driver lost control of the bus on Highway 38 northeast of Bryant Street. The bus struck a Saturn sedan, crossed the center line and rolled over, ejecting passengers, and collided with the oncoming pickup before coming to rest in the center of the road.

The Moraleses are both Mexican nationals.

The National Transportation Safety Board held a press conference Feb. 5 at Certified Towing in Ontario to give an update on the investigation of
The National Transportation Safety Board held a press conference Feb. 5 at Certified Towing in Ontario to give an update on the investigation of Sunday's tour bus crash near Yucaipa that killed seven people. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer)

"One is still hospitalized - she sustained multiple fractures," Chavez said.

Guillermina Morales reportedly suffered a fractured leg, pelvis and arm.

They are suing the Tijuana-based Interbus Tours and Charters, which booked the Moraleses on the trip, and Scapadas Magicas, the National City company that provided the bus for the trip, along with bus driver Norberto Perez and the employees of both companies.

Perez told investigators his brakes failed as he descended the mountain road.

No one answered the phone at Scapadas Magicas' offices on Friday.

Jordi Garcia, marketing director for Interbus, told The Associated Press his company had not received the lawsuit and could not comment.

Interbus owed its passengers "a duty of care to act as a responsible tour operator by providing safe vacation getaways," the complaint reads in part.

In particular, it owed its passengers "a duty to taking reasonable precautions to ensure that its customers would be provided safe transportation by, with respect to the transportation companies that it was going to contract, inquiring of the business' safety record, accident record, and record of moving motor vehicle violations, compliance with laws and regulations regarding vehicle maintenance and safety, and the existence of citations and fines by governmental agencies."

The federal government ordered Scapadas Magicas to shut down on Feb. 8. Vehicle maintenance violations were cited 21 times in the company's 25 most recent vehicle inspections, and vehicles were taken out of service after 36 percent of those inspections, according to the federal order.

The Moraleses are seeking unspecified damages, according to the lawsuit. According to Chavez, Scapadas Magicas has a $5 million insurance policy.

Three generations of one family were wiped out that night.

Elvira Garcia Jimenez, 40, a doctor with the Mexican governmental health care system Issstecali; her 13-year-old son Victor Cabrera Garcia; and Jimenez's mother, Guadalupe Olivas, 61, were all killed in the rollover. 

Also killed were Aleida Adriana Arce Hernandez, 38; Rubicelia Escobedo Flores, 34; Mario Garcia Santoyo, 32; Liliana Camerina Sanchez Sauceda, 24; and the driver of the pickup truck, Richardson, of Mountain Home Village.

According to its Facebook page, Interbus has trips scheduled to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and to California theme parks, including Magic Mountain.

Staff writers Melissa Pinon-Whitt, Ryan Hagen and Beatriz Valenzuela contributed to this report.


Reach Beau at via email, call him at 909-483-9376, or find him on Twitter @InlandED.