Bus crash on I-80 kills two | SierraSun.com

Bus crash on I-80 kills two

Two people were killed and 39 injured after a Reno-bound tour bus overturned on Interstate 80 at Farad late Saturday afternoon.

The Coach USA bus, which originated in San Francisco, was en route to the Sundowner Casino in Reno and the Nugget Hotel Casino in Sparks, when it apparently went out of control on the interstate’s wet pavement and tumbled onto its roof between the highway and the Farad overcrossing just before 5 p.m., according to California Highway Patrol reports.

CHP officer Todd Ketwig was first to respond. It was reported that he notified the Truckee office of needed resources, entered the bus and began assisting passengers.

Truckee Fire Protection District Chief Mike Terwilliger arrived ahead of the ambulances and rescue trucks.

Once on scene, he evaluated the incident and requested additional ambulances from Donner Summit, North Tahoe, Reno and Carson City, additional rescue personnel from Nevada Division of Forestry and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and air ambulances from Calstar and Careflight, he said.

Limited visibility restricted a CHP helicopter from responding, but a Careflight helicopter made its way in during a small window of clearing, reports said.

Two people were pronounced dead at the scene. They were 59-year-old Della Cooper of Vallejo and 44-year-old Juan Torres of Berkeley.

Two patients were transported by helicopter and an additional 29 patients were taken to Reno hospitals, because of the hospitals’ ability to handle large-scale trauma incidents.

Four patients were transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital, and the remaining ambulatory patients were transported on an “All West” tour bus with paramedics, who monitored their conditions until they reached Washoe Medical Center in Reno.

Kerri Garcia, spokeswoman for Washoe Medical Center, said the majority of injuries suffered were back and neck injuries.

“The incident went smoothly,” said Terwilliger. “The way the bus was situated off the roadway and the access to and from the scene made the rescue efforts work well. We could get equipment in and patients out quickly.”

He said within two hours, all of the patients had been removed from the scene.

The accident immediately closed the highway and Caltrans kept the slow lane of the highway closed Saturday night and Sunday until the bus was removed on Sunday afternoon. The highway was opened without restrictions at 4:35, almost exactly 24 hours after the accident happened.

CHP said no charges were filed against the bus driver, 45-year-old William Collier of Clear Lake Oaks.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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