Sudden lane change caused deadly Sierra bus crash
June 5, 2009
LAKE TAHOE and#8212; Investigators have concluded a sudden lane change caused the deadly crash of a mountain resort’s shuttle bus in the Sierra Nevada in April but prosecutors haven’t decided whether to file criminal charges against the 66-year-old driver.
The bus, operated by the Resort at Squaw Creek just north of Lake Tahoe, veered off Interstate 80 near the Nevada-California line on April 4.
It struck a guardrail and rolled at least once before stopping in a ditch about 20 miles west of Reno, killing two passengers and injuring two dozen others, including the driver.
California Highway Patrol officer Steve Skeen said investigators determined an unsafe turning movement, such as a sudden lane change, caused the accident. He said they don’t know why the driver made the move.
The driver, whose name has not been released, was interviewed by a CHP investigator the day of the accident but provided few details because he was on pain medication for a head injury, Skeen said.
“Shortly after this incident, the driver was in a coma himself,” said Bill Cornell, district attorney for California’s Nevada County. Because of that, he said it likely will be weeks before he decides whether to file criminal charges.
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Marc Sapoznik, a spokesman for the resort, said the driver remains hospitalized but is in good condition.
The bus was carrying mostly housekeeping and food service workers from Reno to the Resort at Squaw Valley. One passenger died the day of the bus crash and a second died later from injuries.