Death of Tour Bus Driver Complicates Investigation

The death of the bus driver in that crash on Highway 101 in Monterey County is complicating efforts to determine what caused the crash.

The California Highway Patrol says 69-year-old John Egnew died of head and neck injuries after he was thrown from the bus after it hit a guardrail and overturned in Soledad.

Four other people were killed in the crash. Authorities have not released their names.

One passenger who has been released from the hospital says he thought the bus had been going too fast.

Giles Gomes told KION-TV that passengers in the back of the bus were commenting just before the crash that the vehicle seemed to be having problems.

Meanwhile, a report from Las Vegas police shows that Egnew had been behind the wheel of a bus that hit and seriously injured a woman in a crosswalk in 2005.

California lawmakers said the crash shows the need to strengthen regulation of the industry.

It was the latest in a recent string of fatal charter bus crashes in Northern California.

The California Bus Association is supporting bills by Assemblymen Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, and Assemblymember Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. The lawmakers said current penalties are insufficient to deter carriers that put profits ahead of passenger safety.

Jones' bill would give bus companies no second chances if they knowingly use improperly licensed drivers or buses. Lieu's bill would increase fines for violations by charter bus companies.

Earlier this month, an accident involving a resort's employee shuttle bus in the Sierra Nevada killed one person and injured 27 others, one of them critically and six seriously.

The bus, operated by the Resort at Squaw Creek just north of Lake Tahoe, crashed April 4 along on Interstate 80 near Floriston, about 20 miles west of Reno, Nev.

In early October last year, a bus carrying passengers from Sacramento to a casino in Colusa County killed eight people along a rural Northern California road and injured more than 30 others. Up to a dozen passengers were thrown from the bus as it violently flipped before coming to rest in waist-deep mud at the edge of a rice field along a rural road.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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