2 Dead After California Bus Driven by Fatigued Driver Rolls Over
Two passengers are dead after a Greyhound bus driver who admitted to being “fatigued” slammed into safety barrels and rolled over onto the center divider on a Northern California highway. The accident took place early on Tuesday, January 19, at about 6:40 am near San Jose. Several other passengers were injured, one severely. Some of the 20 passengers aboard the bus have stated that the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
The bus accident took place during a rainy morning commute and slowed already sluggish traffic along U.S. 101. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
One of the two deceased passengers has been identified as Fyle Olivera, a 51-year-old Filipino immigrant who arrived in California in September. She had made the bus trip three times before to see family, according to her son Antonio Olivera. Authorities had not released the names of the deceased, but Olivera said that a coroner had informed him of his mother’s death. Authorities have also declined to release the name of the driver thus far.
Driver fatigue may have been a factor in the accident
Passengers have stated that they believe the driver fell asleep just prior to the accident. According to passenger Alex Ehlers, “I could feel him [the driver] weaving and jerking the wheel a little bit and I knew it wasn’t going to end up well. Ehlers says that he heard passengers screaming and that, when he climbed out of the bus (then on its side) after the accident, he saw several passengers with their faces down on the concrete.
The driver began his northbound route from Los Angeles the night before at about 11:30 pm. California Highway Patrol officer Chris Miceli said that the driver reported feeling fatigued prior to the accident and had stopped for coffee at a previous stop. Officer Miceli added, however, that the cause of the accident remains under investigation.
The National Safety Transportation Board will conduct an investigation of the incident, according to spokesman Eric Weiss. The driver will be asked to provide a blood sample to undergo alcohol and drug tests, routine in these cases according to authorities. A spokeswoman for Greyhound, Lanesha Gipson, says that bus drivers are required to rest nine hours between trips.
Bus accident negligence
Buses, like other vehicles that transport multiple passengers for a fee, are held to higher standards than other motor vehicles should accidents occur. Passengers who are injured, or families of those who are killed in such accidents can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, if he or she had exhibited reckless behavior. Such behavior could include flagrant disobedience of traffic laws, use of drugs or alcohol, or getting behind the wheel while excessively tired.
In addition, the bus company or any other entity that maintains buses or trains drivers may also be held liable for accidents. Bus companies are responsible for checking the buses to make sure that they are in working order. They are also liable for the training and experience of their employees.
If you have been injured in a Los Angeles bus accident, please contact the attorneys at Ellis Injury Law to set up a free consultation. By calling 310-641-3335, you can arrange to sit down with a lawyer one on one to better understand your legal rights.