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Deadly Tourist Van Crash

Two people have sued a tour operator and the driver of a van that crashed near Cedar City, killing three Japanese tourists and injuring 11 others.  Over 20 Vietnamese tourist were killed several years ago in a bus crash case outside of Sherman, Texas.

Kei Maeda has suffered “incomplete quadriplegia” since the Aug. 9 crash, according to a lawsuit he and his wife filed Friday in federal court. Kei and Mai Maeda were among 14 tourists in the van when it crashed during a trip from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Driver Yasushi Mikuni, 26, had THC in his system — indicating marijuana use — when he fell asleep at the wheel that day, the suit alleges. He had driven for more than 11 hours the day before and slept less than 7 hours the night before the wreck, the lawsuit states. He had been drinking energy drinks and chewing caffeine gum to stay awake the day of the crash, and he repeatedly dozed off and hit the rumble strips in the shoulder before the crash, the Maedas claim.

He also was not wearing corrective lenses, as required by his driver license, and he was driving the van without a license to operate a tour outside of Utah, the suit states.

Published Oct 19, 2010 06:18AM
Updated Oct 18, 2010 11:39PM