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Metro Atlanta truck driver fell asleep before bus crash that killed 13 in California, officials say

Authorities arrested a metro Atlanta truck driver a year after he was found asleep at the wheel in a deadly crash that killed 13 in California, officials said

Bruce Guilford, 51, of Covington was arrested at his home Thursday evening on 13 counts felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, 12 counts felony reckless driving and 17 misdemeanor reckless driving charges in the Oct. 23, 2016 crash, according to a release from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in California. Twenty-nine others were injured in the crash. 

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About 5:15 a.m. that day, westbound lanes were closed due to construction on Interstate 10, west of North Indian Canyon Drive, in the Palm Springs area at the time of the crash, officials said. 

Lanes had reopened, but officials said Guilford’s big-rig was still stopped on the freeway when a motor coach from the Red Earth casino in Thermal, Calif. came barreling into his tractor-trailer at 76 mph. 

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Investigators later discovered Guilford was sleep at the wheel with his truck parked, according to the release. He had seven hours of “sleep opportunity” in the 24 hours leading up to the crash. Investigators believe it’s unlikely he slept during that time. 

It was determined that between Oct. 19, 2016 and the time of the crash, Guilford had violated 20 hours of service federal regulations, regularly violated driving-time regulations and attempted to hide the violations by falsifying his daily driver’s log. 

A $500,000 warrant was taken out on Guilford in the Wednesday. The U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force assisted in the arrest. 

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