10 Memorable Bus Accidents

Memorable Bus Accidents

Bus accidents can be tragic and devastating events that can have a lasting impact on the victims and their families. While accidents involving buses are relatively rare, there have been several incidents throughout history that have drawn public attention.

Here are 10 notable bus accidents that have left a mark on the collective memory.


North Palm Springs, California Tour Bus Crash - 13 People Dead (2016)

On October 23, 2016, a tour bus collided with a semi-truck in North Palm Springs, California, resulting in injuries to the 44 passengers on board. A truck driver was arrested on manslaughter charges after allegedly falling asleep at the wheel, causing a tour bus crash that resulted in the death of 13 people and injuries of 30 others near Palm Springs. [1]

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team of investigators. The report found that both drivers had a severe lack of sleep and that Guilford had falsified his driver logs to hide the fact that he had driven more hours than allowed without resting.

The driver had fallen asleep and the bus also had two substandard tires and was not equipped with seat belts.

North Palm Springs, Calif. Tour Bus Crash - 13 People Dead (2016)

New York Casino Bus Accident - 14 People Dead ( 2011)

In 2011, a casino bus carrying 25 passengers crashed in Sullivan County, New York. The accident resulted in 14 fatalities and 11 injuries. The driver, who survived, told police he lost control after being clipped by a tractor-trailer. Police began a hunt for the truck that did not stop after hitting the bus. [2]

According to authorities, there were approximately 32 individuals on the bus when it flipped over on Interstate 95. The bus was returning from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut to Manhattan’s Chinatown.


Hurricane Rita Nursing Home Bus Crash – 24 People Dead (2005)

On September 23, 2005, a bus carrying nursing home residents caught fire and exploded while attempting to evacuate from Hurricane Rita. The event occurred when the bus was caught in traffic on a highway south of Dallas. Unfortunately, 24 elderly patients who were unable to escape died in the incident.

The bus was traveling from the Brighton Gardens nursing home in Houston, transporting 38 residents and 6 employees, towards another nursing home in Dallas. Investigators were called in order to investigate the details of the fire and explosion. [3]

Hurricane Rita Nursing Home Bus Crash – 24 People Dead (2005)

Mississippi Casino Bus Accident - 15 People Dead (2004)

In 2004, a casino bus carrying 30 passengers crashed in Biloxi, Mississippi. The accident resulted in 15 fatalities and 15 injuries. The cause of the crash was determined to be due to an intoxicated bus driver. [4]

The tragedy highlighted the need for more stringent regulations to prevent intoxicated drivers from operating buses.


Mother’s Day Bus Crash, New Orleans, Louisiana – 23 People Dead (1999)

On May 09, 1999, there were 48 individuals who boarded a rented casino charter bus in New Orleans, which happened to be Mother’s Day. Regrettably, 23 individuals lost their lives and 16 sustained severe injuries before the incident concluded. The driver was under the influence of marijuana, which presented a significant safety risk comparable to impaired senses from drunk driving. 

Due to this, the bus driver turned and swerved across three lanes, narrowly avoiding three other vehicles and potentially causing a head-on collision.

The bus eventually collided with a guardrail and veered off the highway, leading to the well-known “Mother’s Day Crash.” A memorial is still maintained by family members at the location of the accident. [5]

Mother’s Day Bus Crash, New Orleans, Louisiana – 23 People Dead (1999)

Mission CISD, Alton Texas. - 21 People Dead (1989)

On September 21, 1989, a school bus crash took place in Alton, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley region. Tragically, 21 junior and senior high school students lost their lives in a tragic accident involving a collision between a bottling truck and a school bus. The bus entered a caliche pit filled with water, resulting in drowning or asphyxiation.

The students, aged 12 to 19, attended Mission Junior High School and Mission High School in Texas. The bus carried a total of 42 senior high school students and 39 junior high school students, and they were from the lowest socioeconomic status area of Alton, Texas. [6]


Carrollton Bus Crash, Kentucky - 27 People Dead (1988)

On May 14, a tragic incident occurred near Carrollton, Kentucky, where 27 individuals, including 24 children and 3 adults, lost their lives in a church bus accident while returning from Kings Island, an amusement park in Mason, Ohio, just minutes before midnight. The day included amusement park rides, cotton candy, and carnival games, but unfortunately concluded with a serious drunk driving accident and the fourth deadliest bus crash in U.S. history. [7]

A survivor, who was 14 years old and sitting directly behind the bus driver, provides a detailed account of the events. He witnessed a sudden flash of lights and immediately felt himself being pushed into the wall in front of him. Initially, he stated that there were brief moments of silence. After the impact, everyone was in shock and taking a moment to recover, but fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. The interior of the bus quickly became engulfed in flames.

The survivors quickly organized an evacuation plan, with the older children helping the younger ones to safety. However, as they attempted to escape, many of them found themselves trapped due to intense heat and smoke caused by the fire. Understanding that time was of the essence, the driver managed to break a window and help several individuals out before ultimately succumbing to smoke inhalation himself.

Twenty-seven people died in the accident, and 34 sustained injuries. It was determined that the driver of the other vehicle was intoxicated at the time of the collision and subsequently charged with 27 counts of murder.

Carrollton Bus Crash, Kentucky - 27 People Dead (1988)

Yubu High School Bus Crash, Martinez, CA – 29 People Dead (1976)

The crash is widely considered to be one of the most tragic disasters in history. On April 21, 1976, a charter bus carrying 28 students from Yuba City High School to Miramonte High in Orinda was involved in the incident. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), multiple factors contributed to the accident, including the failure of a compressor drive belt responsible for supplying air to the bus brakes and the driver’s lack of experience.

The driver misunderstood the brake warning light and mistakenly thought it was the oil pressure light. As a result, they became confused and made a poor attempt to regain control of the bus.

The bus (a 1950 model) crashed through a guardrail on an elevated ramp, falling about 30 feet to the ground and landing upside down, resulting in the occupants being crushed. The accident resulted in the loss of 29 lives, including one adult. [8]


Chualar, California School Bus Crash - 32 People dead (1963)

The Chualar train-bus collision of 1963 was a significant bus accident in United States history. The vehicle was a makeshift bus, specifically a flatbed truck with a canopy, that was used by farm workers for harvesting crops at local farms.

On September 17, 1963, a school bus carrying 58 students and workers was involved in a collision with a freight train at a railroad crossing in Chualar, California. The collision resulted in the loss of 32 student lives and the bus driver as well as injuring 25 additional people, causing it to be considered one of the most tragic bus accidents in the history of the United States. [9]

The incident highlights the significance of safety measures and caution at railway crossings.

Chualar, California School Bus Crash - 32 People dead (1963)

Prestonsburg, Kentucky School Bus Crash – 27 Dead (1958)

A bus collision and plunge into Big Sandy River near Prestonsburg, Kentucky on February 28, 1958, resulted in the tragic deaths of 26 students and the bus driver. It is regarded as one of the most catastrophic bus accidents in United States history. However, 22 children were able to escape and survive.

On a cold and cloudy morning, a school bus carrying 48 students collided with a wrecker truck on U.S. Route 23 in Floyd County, Kentucky. The bus then went down an embankment into the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River, where it was swept downstream and submerged.

The incident, which garnered national attention at the time, serves as a reminder of the importance of road safety. Considering the number of fatalities and injuries resulting from this accident, it is one of the most memorable bus accidents in history. [10]

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident and need an experienced bus accident attorney, contact Goldberg and Loren at 1-888-522-0335 or by filling out the form for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.


[1] Sun, C. A. B. N. A. B. K. D. (2017, October 20). Trucker charged with manslaughter in bus crash that killed 13 people in Palm Springs last year. Palm Springs Desert Sun. https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/traffic/2017/10/19/manslaughter-charges-filed-driver-2016-tour-bus-crash-killed-13-people-palm-springs/775818001/

[2] M. (2011, March 12). 14 killed in New York casino bus accident. The Denver Post. https://www.denverpost.com/2011/03/12/14-killed-in-new-york-casino-bus-accident/

[3] Bus carrying elderly evacuees burns; 24 dead. (2005, September 23). NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna9449949

[4] Times, N. Y. (2004, October 10). At Least 15 Are Killed as Bus From Chicago Crashes During Trip to Mississippi Casino. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/10/us/at-least-15-are-killed-as-bus-from-chicago-crashes-during-trip-to.html

[5] CNN – At least 23 dead in Louisiana tour bus accident – May 9, 1999. (n.d.). http://edition.cnn.com/US/9905/09/louisiana.buscrash.04/index.html#

[6] Mission CISD community honors victims of 1989 school bus crash in Alton. (2023, October 26). KRGV. https://www.krgv.com/news/mission-cisd-community-honors-victims-of-1989-school-bus-crash-in-alton/

[7] GDPR Support. (n.d.). https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/previous-bus-crashes-note/JmgHjo3VOO5oq31ljWIitN/

[8] Yuba City bus disaster. (2023, May 26). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuba_City_bus_disaster

[9] Chualar bus crash. (2023, June 6). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chualar_bus_crash

[10] Prestonsburg, Kentucky, bus crash. (2023, October 20). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestonsburg,_Kentucky,_bus_crash

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