At least 3 killed, dozens hurt in California bus crash

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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SOLEDAD, Calif. - At least three people are dead and dozens injured in a tour bus crash on a Central California highway overpass, authorities said Tuesday.
The crash occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. on U.S. 101 in Soledad, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Erica Elias, a spokeswoman with the CHP's Gilroy office, said there were "multiple fatalities" but didn't immediately have a specific number or any other details. A dispatcher in the CHP Monterey office later said there were three confirmed deaths at the scene and four people had been taken to area hospitals in grave condition.
Officials say at least 40 people were on board when the vehicle overturned.
The maroon bus, bearing the name Orion Pacific, was left lying on its side after crashing into the guard rail on the two-lane southbound overpass.
A person who answered the phone at Orion Pacific, which describes itself as a luxury charter coach company based in Orange, said no one was available for comment. It was not immediately clear who had chartered the bus that crashed in Soledad.
The highway was temporarily shut down in both directions, but northbound lanes reopened a couple hours later.
Adrienne Laurent, a spokeswoman for the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, said the facility had so far received three patients - all in critical condition - from the crash. She said the hospital has been told to expect more patients.
An emergency room worker at Watsonville Community Hospital said three victims from the crash arrived there, all with moderate injuries.

Organizations: California Highway Patrol, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, Watsonville Community Hospital

Geographic location: California, Central California, SOLEDAD Monterey

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