NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Greyhound bus crash

A California Highway Patrol investigator examines the scene of a fatal Greyhound bus crash, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. The bus flipped on its side while traveling north on Highway 101, according to the San Jose Fire Department. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

SAN JOSE (KRON) — The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on the fatal Greyhound bus crash on Highway 101 in South San Jose in January.

The report found no initial signs of mechanical issues or intoxication on the part of the driver, the NTSB said.

The Jan. 19 crash killed two women who were ejected from the bus and injured 13 others, including the driver. The federal agency is still determining a probable cause for the accident.

The passengers who died were 51-year-old San Francisco resident Fely Olivera and 76-year-old Maria De Jesus Ortiz Velasquez of Salinas, according to the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office.

A 58-year-old man was operating the bus, which carried 20 passengers on northbound Highway 101 at about 6:40 a.m., NTSB officials said.

The bus had left Los Angeles at 11:53 p.m. the day before with scheduled stops in San Jose and San Francisco before ending the trip in Oakland.

He drove through an area separating a high occupancy vehicle lane on the left to northbound state Highway 85 from four northbound Highway 101 lanes, according to the NTSB.

The man crashed the bus into a nine-barrel crash attenuator and went up a concrete barrier. The bus rolled over counterclockwise before it landed on its right side over the barrier, according to the NTSB.

The rear of the bus was on northbound Highway 101 lanes and the front hung over the HOV lane. The vehicle had traveled 65 feet from the attenuator before it came to rest on the barrier, NTSB officials said.

The report said the bus had lap and shoulder seat belts for all 50 passenger seats. Two of the passengers who were not injured reported they wore seat belts, according to the NTSB.

It was still dark at the time of the early morning crash, with light to heavy rain and south-southeast winds reportedly ranging from 11 to 23 mph, according to the NTSB.

An initial inspection of the bus, a 2014 Motor Coach Industries D4505 motor coach, showed no mechanical defects and preliminary toxicology results on the driver were negative for alcohol or drugs, NTSB officials said.

The vehicle had cameras that faced in and out and location tracking systems that can record and transmit data, which the agency investigators will continue to review.

The investigation will also look into other aspects surrounding the crash, including factors related to human performance, survival and vehicle, according to the NTSB.

Investigators have also developed a 3-D image made through laser scanning technology of the damaged bus.

The federal agency is also working with the California Highway Patrol, which is carrying out a separate, parallel examination.

Greyhound is also conducting its own probe into the crash, company officials said.

The driver had told investigators that he drank coffee because he felt fatigued during a stop in Gilroy, according to the CHP.

Witnesses reported the bus was traveling at the speed limit prior to the crash, CHP officials said.

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