The Latest: Neighbor says bus owner was a hard worker

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) " The Latest on a deadly tour bus crash in Southern California (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A neighbor who has lived near the owner of the bus involved in a deadly crash that killed 13 people in California said he operated the small company with his wife for many years and that he generally drove the bus.

Sonia Anderson of Alhambra, California said the couple's college student son would sometimes be seen traveling on the bus together.

She described them as a kind, close-knit family.

Anderson said: "I'm crossing my finger that he's all right because he has a family here and they all love him. No matter what ups and downs that they've had, they always stick together. Pretty strong family."

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3:10 p.m.

A trauma surgeon says many of those most severely wounded in a deadly tour bus crash in California suffered facial trauma but few broken bones, calling the injuries unusual for a high-speed vehicle wreck.

Dr. Ricard Townsend of Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs told reporters Sunday that the bus struck the collapsible trailer of a semi-truck, sending many of the likely unrestrained passengers flying through the air.

He called the widespread facial injuries a hallmark of those not wearing seat belts. He says the injuries indicate the bus was slowing down at the point of impact.

Townsend says doctors treated several spine fractures but few other bone injuries. Five patients are in intensive care but stable and about seven people have been released.

Several others are being transferred in from other hospitals or still being assessed in the emergency room.

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2:50 p.m.

Authorities say a maintenance crew was working on a California highway and slowing down traffic when a tour bus plowed into the back of a semi-truck, killing 13 people.

California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele says the cause of the accident isn't clear but that the bus carrying 44 passengers was going significantly faster than the truck when they crashed before dawn Sunday north of Palm Springs. An additional 31 people were injured.

CHP officers had been slowing traffic to allow Southern California Edison workers to string wires across Interstate 10. Abele says the work had gone on for hours without problems.

Abele says the bus was coming from Red Earth Casino in Thermal, California, and was about 35 miles into its 135-mile trip back to Los Angeles.

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2 p.m.

Authorities say 13 people died when a tour bus rear-ended a semi-truck on a California highway.

California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele says the early Sunday crash just north of Palm Springs injured an additional 31 people.

He says the USA Holiday tour bus was returning to Los Angeles after a visit to the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, California.

He says the bus was traveling much faster than the semi, and the impact was so strong, the bus went about 15 feet into the trailer. He says it's not clear if the bus was speeding.

Abele says it's unknown if alcohol, drugs or fatigue played a role in the accident. The bus was inspected in 2014, 2015 and this year and found no mechanical issues.

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12:10 p.m.

Authorities say the driver of a tour bus that crashed into the back of a semi-truck, killing at least seven people, was one of the owners of the company.

California Highway Patrol Officer Stephanie Hamilton tells the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs (http://desert.sn/2ekf1LI ) that the driver was an owner of USA Holiday, based near Los Angeles. Authorities say the bus may have been coming from a casino.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says the company has one vehicle and one driver. Records show it had no crashes and one inspection in the two years before Oct. 22 and had a satisfactory safety rating.

A phone message left for the company wasn't immediately returned. A Facebook message from USA Holiday said it didn't have much information about the crash.

The company posts on social media about trips leaving the Los Angeles area to casinos around the Coachella Valley and Las Vegas.

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10:10 a.m.

The California Highway Patrol says at least seven people have died after a tour bus and a semi-truck crashed on a freeway near Palm Springs.

CHP Officer Stephanie Hamilton confirmed the fatalities to the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs (http://desert.sn/2ekf1LI ) as of 7:30 a.m. Sunday. The newspaper reports more bodies are being removed by firefighters using ladders to climb into the bus' windows.

It says at least 25 bus passengers have been taken to area hospitals.

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs has received 14 patients. Hospital director of marketing Rich Ramhoff says five are in critical condition, three in serious condition and six had minor injuries.

Lee Rice of Eisenhower Medical Center says the Rancho Mirage hospital received 11 adult patients, all with minor injuries.

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9:19 a.m.

The California Highway Patrol says at least three passengers were killed when a tour bus and a semi-truck crashed on a highway in Southern California.

CHP Officer Stephanie Hamilton tells the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs (http://desert.sn/2ekf1LI ) that crews were searching the bus for more victims after the wreck early Sunday on Interstate 10 in Desert Hot Springs, near the desert resort town.

The newspaper reports at least 21 victims have been taken to Palm Springs-area hospitals.

Photos show the front of the passenger bus pushed into the semi-truck's trailer.

Hamilton says "the intrusion into the bus compartment is significant."

Firefighters are using ladders into the bus' windows to pull out victims.

The CHP says all westbound lanes of the highway are closed and traffic is being diverted.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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