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Truck driver denies charges in Palm Springs tour bus crash that killed 13

By in Press Enterprise on November 22, 2017

By City News Service

A truck driver who authorities say contributed to a bus crash in Palm Springs that killed 13 people and injured 31 others pleaded not guilty Wednesday, Nov. 22, to more than 40 felony and misdemeanor counts, including vehicular manslaughter.

Investigators determined that Bruce Guilford, 51, of Covington, Georgia, fell asleep at the wheel in the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2016, while traffic was stopped to allow Southern California Edison workers to pull wires across the highway. Minutes later, a tour bus slammed into the rear of his rig on westbound Interstate 10.

Alhambra bus driver Teodulo Elias Vides, owner of the USA Holiday bus company, was killed, along with a dozen of his passengers riding near the front of the bus.

Most of the victims, who had boarded the bus in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, were from the LA area.

Guilford, who was arrested in his home state last month and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on Friday night, Nov. 17, appeared before a judge at the Larson Justice Center Wednesday morning and pleaded not guilty to 42 counts of vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filed the charges against Guilford about two weeks before the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that both Guilford and Vides were both sleep-deprived.

On the day of the crash, Guilford was on his second round trip from Eufaula, Alabama, to Salinas within two weeks, according to an arrest warrant declaration prepared by California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Parent.

Guilford had previously driven the route from Oct. 8 to Oct. 18, then departed again on a second trip starting Oct. 19.

Parent alleged that Guilford violated maximum driving time regulations and tried to hide the violations by falsifying his driver’s daily log, adding that the nearly nonstop driving […]    

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