Bus driver says he was tired before fatal Calif. crash
San Jose, Calif. — A Greyhound bus driver said he was fatigued before the vehicle plowed into safety barrels on a Northern California highway and flipped on its side early Tuesday, killing two women and sending at least eight others to the hospital, authorities said.
The driver, who was one of those sent to the hospital, stopped for a caffeine jolt at the last stop before the wreck, about 30 miles south in Gilroy, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“He stated that he did feel fatigued and that he did get some coffee in Gilroy when he dropped off two passengers,” CHP Officer Chris Miceli said, adding that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
The bus carrying 20 passengers hit the barrels and then rolled onto the center divider of Highway 101 in San Jose, a major commuting thoroughfare, said Lanesha Gipson, a Greyhound spokeswoman.
One person suffered major injuries, and three others were moderately hurt, officials said. Several others had minor injuries and got patched up at the scene or were ferried to a hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises.
The bus left Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. Monday with stops planned in Gilroy, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, Gipson said. The driver began his shift in LA, and the company requires operators to rest nine hours between trips, she said.
The driver was asked to submit a blood sample to test for alcohol and drugs, Miceli said. Prosecutors have been notified, which is a routine measure, he said.
In addition to the CHP inquiry, the National Safety Transportation Board is sending a team of investigators, agency spokesman Eric Weiss said.
After the bus rolled, a driver traveling south hit some of the debris, damaging the car but leaving the motorist uninjured, Miceli said.
The wreck snarled a morning commute already slowed by rain, backing up northbound Highway 101 for several miles.
Mario Mariscal was driving into work when he came across the crash and snapped a photo of the bus on its side on the median on the rain-slicked highway.
“There was an overwhelming amount of emergency crews there,” he said. “Everybody that went out there was definitely doing their job.”
Authorities have not released the identity of the victims.