Bus driver said he was tired before deadly crash in San Jose

KRON4 News Photo
KRON4 News Photo

 

 

SOUTH SAN JOSE (KRON) — Two people were killed and 18 injured when a Greyhound bus overturned on U.S. Highway 101 in South San Jose Tuesday morning, according to fire officials.

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, California Highway Patrol officials said that the driver told officers he was fatigued but there’s no evidence he fell asleep at the wheel.

The driver has been identified as 58-year-old Gary Bonslater of Victorville.

The accident happened around 6:40 a.m. on northbound Hwy 101 at the northbound state Highway 85 connector.  The bus flipped on its side while traveling on Hwy 101 at about 70 mph, according to officials.

The two people who died were ejected from the bus, a CHP official said. Officials have not identified the deceased.

A family member of one crash victim confirmed to KRON4 News that Sely Olivera, 51, of San Francisco, died at the scene.

Olivera’s son told KRON4 that he and his mom were text messaging each other at about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning to coordinate a pick up time. It would be the last time he heard from her.

Olivera, who moved to the Bay Area from the Philippines late last year, was traveling from Los Angeles after visiting her two other sons, according to Olim Alizhanov, Olivera’s son’s friend and roommate.

“She was like a mom to me,” Alizhanov said.

Alizhanov says that Olivera also has a daughter in the Philippines.

IMPACT TO COMMUTE

The bus remains blocking the left lanes of northbound Hwy 101 and the HOV lanes of northbound and southbound Hwy 101. Traffic is backed up on Hwy 101 as only one or two lanes of northbound traffic are being allowed past the bus.

California Highway Patrol said it will take about 8 hours to clear the scene. Officials are advising drivers to avoid both directions Hwy 101.

Emergency crews are at the scene of the accident.

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Five people who suffered serious injuries that required immediate care were taken to a trauma center at a nearby hospital. 13 other passengers suffered minor injuries and 9 people were transported to a local hospital.

The driver of the bus has been transported to the hospital with unknown injuries, and will be asked to submit a blood sample to test for alcohol and drugs, CHP Officer Chris Miceli said.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.

“We still don’t know what caused the accident,” Miceli said.

After the bus rolled, a driver traveling south hit some of the debris, damaging the car but leaving the motorist uninjured, Miceli said.

Greyhound bus left Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. Monday to the Bay Area, with stops scheduled in Gilroy, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland was the listed destination. A passenger said the bus was half full with 20 passengers inside.

The driver told authorities that he bought coffee during their stop in Gilroy

KRON 4’s Will Tran spoke with passengers about the terrifying moments when the bus overturned in the video above. One passenger told Tran that he was sleeping and woke up when the bus jolted and people started to scream.

Another passenger said he and his girlfriend was stuck in the back of the bus and had to climb through the whole overturned bus to escape out of the front.

Family members can call Greyhound at 1-800-972-4583 to check if a relative was on the bus.

The Greyhound bus that crashed was No. 86558 and was on schedule 6876, traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, Gipson said.

“We’re cooperating fully with local authorities on their investigation and conducting our own,” she said.

Witnesses reported the bus was traveling at the speed limit, according to Miceli.

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR BUS DRIVERS?

Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson told KRON federal regulations for bus drivers require 8 hours of rest before a 10-hour shift and that Greyhound beats that standard.

“Drivers cannot drive more than 10 consecutive hours without getting at least 9 hours of rest,” Gipson said.

Greyhound did not comment on the driver’s claim of fatigue, but his shift started at 11:30 p.m. when the bus left Los Angeles.

So, when the crash happened, he was only 7 hours into his day, below the maximum of 10 hours.

Stay with KRON 4 News for updates on this breaking news story.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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