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Fatigued Driver Likely Factor in Fatal Bus Crash

by Jana Ritter - Published: 1/20/2016

The California Highway Patrol is still trying to determine what exactly led to Tuesday’s fatal bus crash that killed two passengers and injured several others. So far, they have ruled out drugs and alcohol and said the bus driver told investigators that he was fatigued and had bought a cup of coffee at the last stop before the crash.

                                                              California bus crash

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The Greyhound bus left Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. Monday, where the driver had began his shift. The bus travelled along the U.S. 101 and was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on Tuesday morning with planned stops in Gilroy, San Jose and San Francisco. Although the company requires operators to rest nine hours between trips, the bus driver admitted that he was feeling fatigued and had stopped for a caffeine jolt in Gilroy. The bus continued to travel along the rain slicked highway and at about 30 miles north of Gilroy, the driver suddenly lost control of the bus and it plowed into safety barrels before flipping on its side across the concrete divider. “The bus carrying 20 passengers hit the barrels and then rolled onto the center divider of U.S. 101 in San Jose, a major commuting thoroughfare,” confirmed Greyhound spokeswoman, Lanesha Gipson.

                                                             Bus driver fatigued

Alex Ehlers was among the passengers and gave his account of the crash to KCBS Radio. He said that the driver had stopped for a bit but that he seemed to be nodding off after getting back on the highway. "I could feel him weaving and jerking the wheel a little bit and I knew it wasn't going to end up well," he said. Ehlers continued his story saying that a short time later, there was suddenly a loud noise "like a lightning strike hit the bus" and a loud scraping sound for about 10 seconds as the bus seesawed along the center median. "It felt like I was in space. Everything was weightless and loud," described Ehlers. He then said he heard people yelling and screaming and saw smoke coming from the rear of the bus. While he and his girlfriend managed to climb out of the wreckage, they saw other passengers lying face down on the concrete.

                                                          two dead in bus crash

Tragically, two of those passengers have been confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the Santa Clara County coroner's office identified the victims as 51-year-old Fely Olivera of San Francisco and 76-year-old Maria De Jesus Ortiz Velasquez of Salinas. The California Highway Patrol says both women were killed when they were ejected from the bus when it flipped onto its side. At least 8 other people were sent to the hospital with injuries ranging from severe to moderate, including the driver who only suffered minor injuries.

In addition to the CHP inquiry, Eric Weiss of the National Safety Transportation Board said they are also sending their own team to investigate the cause of the crash. The California Department of Motor Vehicles says the bus driver has a clean driving record over the past three years and no history of drunken driving over the past 10 years.


David Carmichiel
David Carmichiel
A guy I trained took a bus to Michigan for orientation, he said the driver ripped the mirror off and smashed 3 windows while going through a toll booth in I 80. They let the driver finish the run on another bus like nothing happened.
Jan Bell
Jan Bell
May God bless every one involved! !! Just think buses should have to play by the rules and regulations we have to. For God sake the have passengers. .... just sayin..
Jason Stearns
Jason Stearns
That and speed mixed with the terrible conditions of the road.
Chris Faulk
Chris Faulk
Had to ride greyhound to orientation, I worried about that shit!
James R Maxwell
James R Maxwell
One way car rental. Never again!
Chris Faulk
Chris Faulk
Lol unfortunately, I couldn't afford that!
Jerry Ely
Jerry Ely
Over fatigued drivers is what causes this.
Steve Warn-transport
Steve Warn-transport
What do you know about it.
Jerry Ely
Jerry Ely
Steve Warn-transport I am The Worlds Best Trucker !!
Chris Bailey
Chris Bailey
Prayer to all that are effected by this accident
Sue Domenico
Sue Domenico
Sad Prayers for the victims. Sorry my personal thought these buses should be governed. Why only 9 hr break?
James R Maxwell
James R Maxwell
What do you mean by governed?
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
They need to follow laws like trucks. Not like cars. They could do mid range speed limits. Cars 65 trks 55 They could do 60. Too many times I've seen them zipping by way fast .
Sue Domenico
Sue Domenico
Can only go a certain speed. Many trucks are governed. I could stand on my peddle she's not going to go any faster, I see these buses flying down the road. They have a time schedule just like trucks.
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
But more to harm in an accident . Seen one hit a deer bout totaled the bus . Hit the ditch. Messed up passengers
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
9hrs off not 10? Wonder how many they drive?
Sue Domenico
Sue Domenico
Larry Peterson they don't even have to invole another vehicle. They could injure or kill 40 50 people.
Sue Domenico
Sue Domenico
I don't know but seems strange only 9
Larry Peterson
Larry Peterson
If I stood on my pedal. It will do triple digits .
Sue Domenico
Sue Domenico
Governed at 65
James R Maxwell
James R Maxwell
Hate riding the Grey dog! Like a zoo on wheels. Feel for the victims and their families.
Raymond Martin
Raymond Martin
Praying for them all
Debra J Morton
Debra J Morton
Prayers to all
David Warthen
David Warthen
These aren't drivers there idiots I've never seen a responsible bus driver they fly up and down the roads like they are in a mini van not a Comercial vehicle
Dan Guise
Dan Guise
sad thing is they clamp down on truck drivers that have 1 person and 45,000 lbs if lifeless frt on board and ignore bus driver that carry 50-100 live bodies on board just goes to show govt feels 45000 lbs of frt is more valuable than human lives
Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart
Half of you idiots can't even spell all you can say is bus drivers are idiots and unsafe. I've been driving a bus for 29 years I have 2.6 million miles with zero accidents. I'm sure I'm not the only one and I'm sure there are many truck drivers that have the same or more than me. It's an accident and it's sad we do have tough DOT regulations we dont get a reset after so many hours off like trucks do The reason we can travel as fast as we do is our weight. So why not just try to have a nice day and stop all this hate? I won't even start to tell stories of all the trucks that cut my bus off and move over into the hammer lane to just slow me down Oh and the word is buses not busses. Smh
Tony Sr Ahlers
Tony Sr Ahlers
Blarney Peterson who made you God to say trucks should only go 55. You idiots in cars cause the most accidents. Make you idiots drive 55 What a idiot!
Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson
Them bus drivers are jacktards !!!!!... I wouldnt put my dog on a bus
Christy Elaine Harris
Christy Elaine Harris
Prayers for all passengers and driver
Dakota Punches
Dakota Punches
And e logs are supposed to help...psh please
Ken Wisnasky
Ken Wisnasky
Prayers to all, may God send healing and comfort. In Jesus name Amen
Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart
Hey David warthen learn how to spell the word "their" who's the idiot? You are sir.
Jim Rigney
Jim Rigney
Elogs at there best.....
Richie Schwendy
Richie Schwendy
Ever see a bus pulled over for speeding. Or getting D.O T. Inspected?
Jerry Ely
Jerry Ely
Yes actually I have, In Arkansas . I was tooting my horn as I drove by !!!
Dan McClain
Dan McClain
Now there will be more regulations for trucks while busses don't get anything
Robert Crow
Robert Crow
I don't think they are as strictly regulated as trucking
Donald Gough
Donald Gough
Figure out. Way to pin it on transportation ind. Truckdrivers are unsafe. Bus drivers unaffected
Robert Manvell
Robert Manvell
I guess she meant governed by mandatory breaks
Michael Driver
Michael Driver
Don't they run Elogs?
Betsy Hortenberry
Betsy Hortenberry
Prayers for all involved
Pam Winningham
Pam Winningham
Omg. I'll never ride greyhound again
James McCreight
James McCreight
Yea. Prayers. That'll work. RiP.
Lisa Chiga
Lisa Chiga
So sad...