Trucker Charged in Deadly Palm Springs Bus Crash Waives Extradit - Palm Springs News, Weather, Traffic, Breaking News

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Trucker Charged in Deadly Palm Springs Bus Crash Waives Extradition

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Palm Springs, CA -

A truck driver charged with vehicular manslaughter for a crash involving a tour bus in Palm Springs that killed 13 people and injured 31 others waived extradition from his home state of Georgia and will be brought to Riverside County to face the charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Bruce Guilford, 51, of Covington, Georgia, is charged with more than 40 felony and misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and reckless driving. Each count corresponds to an occupant of the USA Holiday bus that plowed into the back of Guilford's truck in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2016.

Guilford was arrested in Georgia last month and waived his right to an extradition hearing on Friday, according to District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall. Hall did not have an exact timetable for Guilford's return to Riverside County, but said he could be in California ``as soon as within a couple of weeks.''

Story: Tour Bus Crash: One Year Later

The tour bus had carried gamblers on a junket to the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, and was being driven back to the Los Angeles area when it slammed into the rear of the truck on westbound Interstate 10. Teodulo Elias Vides, the bus driver and owner of the bus company, was killed, along with 12 passengers riding near the front of the bus.

California Highway Patrol investigators contend Guilford was asleep and had logged far more driving hours than permitted around the time of the crash.

On the day of the crash, Guilford was allegedly on his second round trip from Eufaula, Alabama, to Salinas within two weeks, according to an arrest warrant declaration. He had previously driven the route from Oct. 8 to Oct. 18, then departed again on a second trip starting Oct. 19.

Story: NTSB Blames Both Drivers and Caltrans For Deadly Bus Crash

The declaration, written by California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Parent, alleges that Guilford violated maximum driving time regulations and tried to hide the violations by falsifying his driver's daily log. The nearly nonstop driving Guilford allegedly undertook between Oct. 8 and the Oct. 23 crash ``resulted in acute sleep deprivation,'' Parent wrote.

The declaration alleges that after Guilford fell asleep, his truck stopped on westbound Interstate 10, west of North Indian Canyon Drive. At 5:16 a.m., the bus crashed into the truck at 76 mph, Parent wrote. The officer said Guilford was ``not the party determined to be most at fault for this collision,'' but said his falling asleep behind the wheel ``was a substantial factor in the deaths of 13 individuals.''

Story: Truck Driver Charged in Connection with Deadly Palm Springs Bus Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board said last week that both Guilford and Vides were sleep deprived when the crash occurred.

NTSB board members said Vides had barely slept leading up to the wreck and crashed despite having about 20 seconds to see the truck before crashing into it at 76 mph. Investigators say Vides had slept about four hours in the 35 hours preceding the crash.

NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said, ``In this crash, not one but two commercial vehicle drivers -- people who drive for a living -- were unable to respond appropriately to cues that other motorists did act on.''

Story: Three Passengers in Fatal Palm Springs Tour Bus Crash File Suit

The NTSB also noted that a traffic break was in effect around the time of the crash due to construction work. Vehicles being driven along that stretch of Interstate 10 were moving slowly, and the NTSB said more could have been done to alert drivers of upcoming traffic.

The conditions of the vehicles, weather, drugs and alcohol, and distracted driving were all ruled out as potential contributing factors in the crash.

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