Casino bus tours continue a week after a rollover crash killed 9 and hurt 43

A couple of days after his 21st birthday, Daniel Garcia stepped onto a white charter bus in McAllen with his moms and dads, pals, and sweetheart, intending to continue the celebration at the only casino in South Texas.

It had to do with 6 a.m. on a Sunday, and Garcia s team was amongst more than 30 individuals signed on for the journey.

It was strange because I had actually never heard about these buses until we booked our journey. The crash took place, and we were going to the very same location.On May 14, a comparable charter bus visited the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino and Hotel crashed near Laredo, eliminating 9 individuals and injuring 43 others. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the examination into the motorist, OGA Charters, which owned the bus, and any elements that might have resulted in the crash, however it might use up to 14 months for investigators to identify a cause.


It didn’t hinder me in anyway. Accidents take place, Garcia stated. We had currently prepared the journey, and I suggest, what are the chances of something like this occurring back to back?

Since 2010, there have actually been 89 deadly crashes in Texas involving non-school buses, according to the current data from the Texas Department of Transportation. 6 of those crashes occurred in Hidalgo and Webb County, where buses went to the Lucky Eagle casino travel every week carrying hundreds of individuals from the Rio Grande Valley.

The casino, located about 100 miles southwest of San Antonio, depends on charter buses to bring customers in from all across South Texas. Its website lists 5 bus business in the Rio Grande Valley that make journeys each week. S&R Tours, the bus company Garcia and his household opted to ride with last Sunday is one of those listed.

How’s everyone doing this morning? I hope everyone brought their money bags because we are going to win huge.

The majority of the 31 individuals onboard were retired and make these gambling trips on a month-to-month basis with the same bus company and motorist.

Edinburg couple Gene, 67, and Lupita, 64, Villanueva have both been taking a trip with S&R and Villarreal for about 5 years.

We used to take other buses, but Valentin is fantastic. He is very courteous with all the passengers, and we feel at ease when he is behind the wheel.

Just after 6:30 a.m. Villarreal took out of the driveway of a one-story brick home on South Bensten Road in McAllen, where S&R Tours is based from.

It’s going to be a good journey, so sit back and relax, and we will be there in about 6 hours, Villarreal said. A few miles down the roadway, he stopped to get 3 women who were waiting outside a Stripes corner store.

Janie Requenez, 46, co-owner of S&R, walked down the aisle, picking up everybody’s $75 fare, which covered the roundtrip, a one-night stay at the casino s hotel, and a $25 credit offered by the casino at the time of arrival to use in the slot machines.

Requenez and her spouse started the company in 2011 after her mother, Irma Requenez, 76, became a planner with the casino and began arranging tours with the buddies she’d made from years of going on the journeys herself. Apart from running the business, Requenez and her other half both have full-time jobs and count on Villarreal to assist them keep the buses running efficiently.

Valentin is actually good. Even if this is a part-time job, you can tell he is truly passionate about what he does, Requenez said. Every other day he drops in and takes the bus for a spin, and if he feels something, he’ll let my partner understand, you know exactly what, I felt this, and we may wish to take a look at this, and then my other half takes it from there.

Villarreal has more than 30 years of experience driving for other charter bus business, consisting of Greyhound, and has been working for S&R for the past 5 years. Since 2011, S&R has not had actually any reported crashes or citations involving unsafe driving or upkeep concerns, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s online Safety Measurement System.

Safety is always my primary issue. You have to check the bus before you get on the roadway fluids, brakes, tires, exits, windows and do your finest to look after the people leaving and on the bus and anything else to make sure they delight in the journey and come back with us.

Three charter buses could be seen parked outside the Lucky Eagle Casino on Sunday, including one other that originated in the Rio Grande Valley.

The bus that was involved in the deadly rollover crash was owned by OGA Charters, of San Juan, which is not noted on the casino’s website as an affiliated tour company. In 2015, the company been bought two times by Louisiana state inspectors to take one of its buses out of service to fix brake and emergency situation exit problems, records show.

OGA Charters 29-year-old motorist, Porfirio Aguirre Vasquez, likewise drove buses for the McAllen school district and had actually formerly worked as a bus motorist for the Valley View school district. Vasquez made it through the crash and is being taken legal action against along with OGA, the casino, and the tour organizer, Elvia Estrada, for their function in the crash.

The casino is liable for the neglect of its Bus Coordinator, Estrada in cannot train Estrada to direct bus drivers under her control as a Casino Bus Coordinator not to travel at unsafe rates of speed, particularly throughout damp and rainy road conditions, reads a claim filed in district court last week on behalf of 5 of the surviving travelers.

The Lucky Eagle Casino is likewise vicariously liable for the neglect of OGA and its driver, Aguirre Vasquez, and undergoes the very same high degree of care, reads the petition requesting more than $1 million in cumulative damages.

Kickapoo Tribe of Texas authorities who own the casino denied remark for this story. There are at least three other claims that were filed on behalf of surviving passengers and by family members of those who died in the crash. The very first court hearing is set up for Tuesday.

Duane DeBruyne, spokesman for the FMCSA, stated a motor provider’s income depends on its motorists which’s why services are needed to run background checks, physicals and drug tests on them at the time of employing.

Just like an airline company pilot, they remain in control, DeBruynespoken. A bus crash is similar to an airplane crash and the possible loss of life is simply as substantial, so they absolutely have that duty actually on their hands.

Consumers can check the history of any charter or passenger bus and its motorists by visiting fmcsa.dot.gov/ safety/passenger-safety or by downloading the SaferBus application on their mobile phone.

Despite the news of the crash, Requenez, who was on board the entire journey and used the slot machines along with her consumers Sunday and Monday, she is confident her company is doing things by the book and spoken they have absolutely nothing to hide.

Since the crash, I don t believe there is anything that we changed as far as our practices, Requenezspoken. The method we run the bus is the method we’ve always run the bus.

Yes, mishaps can occur at any time, but that’s not any different than going on your personal automobile, she included. We’ve been fortunate that absolutely nothings ever took place to us, and I’d like to attribute that to the maintenance of our buses and once again to our motorist, but people need to understand it’s still safe to get on a bus.


Forget Las Vegas, NFL teams already play near gambling establishments


The league has prevented working with the gambling industry and fears the integrity of NFL video games would be jeopardized by the legalization of sports betting. That strong position against the pc gaming market hangs over the Raiders extremely advertised push to relocate from Oakland to Vegas and putting a group so near The Strip might be a little too close for convenience for the NFL.

Think exactly what? The majority of the league already plays their home online games a short drive from the closest casino.

According to an AGA analysis suggested to reveal there is no damage in putting professional athletes near gambling establishments, 81 percent of NFL groups currently play home games near a gambling den.

6 groups the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns play in stadiums within strolling distance of a casino.

The Jets and Giants home field at MetLife Stadium is 30 miles from the nearest, Resorts World Casino in Queens.

Casino pc gaming has become a mainstream market that is invited by neighborhoods in 40 states, including in lots of markets with NFL and other professional sports franchises, stated Sara Rayme, AGA’s senior vice president of public affairs. The truths show that concerns about athletes playing video games in Las Vegas are dramatically misinformed. It’s time for a fresh appearance at the sports betting prohibition that is pressing widely popular sports betting activity to a prohibited market that threatens the integrity of the sports we enjoy.

The AGA analysis discovered half of all NFL teams lie within 11 miles of the nearest casino, 100% of NFL players are within reach of illegal online sports betting sites and when the NFL plays games in London each year, they are playing in a city where managed sports gambling is legal.

Raiders owner Mark Davis met with authorities in Las Vegas and has been vocal about the possibility of moving the group there. While Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones both support the concept of a Las Vegas team, Goodell has shown that gambling would weigh heavy on any decisions the league makes about putting a group in Vegas.

It’s very premature at this moment, Goodell spoken today at the owner’s meetings in North Carolina. One, there is not a proposal that at least Mark has presented to us. From my understanding there is not a proposition.

The stadium itself, what the stadium proposal is, the market itself, with market studies. We clearly, in Las Vegas, it’s been well documented, we have to examine the impact from a gambling standpoint.



Arrests made in Missoula casino break-in, kidnapping

Two men have actually been jailed, implicated of robbing Deano's Casino early Friday early morning, taking a Washington household captive, and shooting at authorities.


Thomas Earl Dempsey, 36, was booked into Missoula County Jail at 9:18 p.m. Friday, accused of burglary and intensified kidnapping. Missoula County Sheriff's Office public information officer Brenda Bassett said he was collared after leaving a motel on North Reserve Street and entering a nearby company.

Nick West, 38, was reserved at 4:29 a.m. Saturday, charged with intensified kidnapping. He was arrested near Mullan Road and North Reserve Street, also at a company.

Both are scheduled to appear in court at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Additional charges might be pending, Bassett said.

"After receiving a tip and working carefully with city policeman’s and the FBI, our investigators and deputies had the ability to locate the 2 suspects," Bassett spoken in a news release.

The pair are accused of taking a family hostage after robbing Deano's Casino early Friday morning.

"We understand it was a disturbing time for the community, and as law enforcement officers we consider this one version of a happy ending," Sheriff T.J. McDermott spoken in the news release. "Most notably, nobody was harmed and secondly, these 2 suspects are now behind bars. We have to applaud the terrific work of our detectives who worked relentlessly throughout the night to obtain this accomplished. I could not be more pleased with our policeman’s and our law enforcement pals, who all pertained to the help of this family throughout a really scary time."

MCSO Patrol Sgt. Jon Stinefordspoken on Saturday early morning that while the investigation is ongoing, "we wish to stress that the Sheriff's Office doesn't feel there's any further threat to public safety from these 2 burglary suspects."

The casino was robbed at gunpoint at about 3:30 a.m. Friday, after which the suspects left in a taken vehicle.

In a press conference Friday afternoon, McDermott stated the household was getting gas nearby and saw the robbery. They called 911 and were asked to pull over and wait for an officer to come, at which point Cpt. Tony Rio said their SUV's doors were pulled open and the suspects took them captive.

A chase started with law enforcement through Missoula. The SUV stopped two times, as soon as to let the family's 12-year-old boy out, the 2nd to release the grandmother and 14-year-old woman. With the parents still inside, police stated the SUV made a U-turn and the suspects fired at the pursuing policeman’s. Law enforcement pulled back and lost sight of the SUV in downtown.

The moms and dads and the SUV were discovered near Evaro Hill at about 5:20 a.m. Friday, however the suspects were gone.

In 2014, Dempsey was convicted of tried theft, theft and accountability for break-in in Lake County, according to the Montana Department of Corrections. The Valley Journal reported that in April 2014, he pleaded innocent to four felonies in relation to a multi-day crime spree in Ronan that included break-in, a stolen vehicle, and stealing firearms. Dempsey was on conditional release at the time of Friday's occurrence and was appropriately accused of an offense.

West was convicted of assault with a weapon and assault on a peace policeman in Hill County in 2007, according to the DOC. He also was founded guilty of partner/family member attack and tampering with witnesses and informants in Yellowstone County in 2012. West was on parole as of Friday and was subsequently charged with parole offense.

Dempsey is being hung on $100,000 bail. West is being held on $250,000 bail.