Bus crash Hwy 101

According to media reports, two female passengers were killed Tuesday morning when a Greyhound bus carrying 20 passengers flipped on its side in South San Jose, tying up traffic and raising questions about bus driver working conditions and hours.

As reported by NBC, In an afternoon news conference, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Miceli said the driver – who was reportedly in stable condition at Regional Medical Center of San Jose – acknowledged he had been “fatigued.”

Bus crash Hwy 101

Bus crash Hwy 101

The CHP identified the driver as 58-year-old Gary Bonslater of Victorville, California.

“He did say he was fatigued leading up to the collision,” Miceli said of Bonslater. “He says he remembers hitting the black barrels and then the next thing he remembers the bus was on its side.”

Some Passengers claim Bonslater appeared tired and report he was knodding off at the wheel.

Bonslater is a veteran driver who was hired by Greyhound 26 years ago. The CHP said Bonslater had a clean driving record prior to Tuesday’s crash.

CHP Sgt. Lisa Brazil told reporters in the collision two women were ejected from the windows and died at the scene. One woman killed in the crash has been identified by family members as 51-year-old Fely Olivera, who leaves behind two sons.

The accident was reported shortly before 6:40 a.m. on U.S. Highway 101 at state Route 85, a busy South Bay thoroughfare that remained jammed during the rainy, early-morning commute.

 Brazil also noted that eight other people suffered injuries, including an 8-year-old boy and 72-year-old woman. One adult suffered major injuries, the CHP said. Initial reports were that all 18 passengers were injured.

CHP officer Amy Tritenbach said:

“There were a few passengers having great difficulty dealing with what happened – the traumatic incident that occurred – but we were able to get them off scene and get them with their relatives and friends,”

Bus crash Hwy 101

Bus crash Hwy 101

Witnesses driving behind the bus told CHP officers that they saw the rear end of the bus “fly in the air” while trying to veer into the carpool lane before flipping onto the K-rail, Brazil said.

She added investigators did not know why the bus landed on its side, and disputed reports from a passenger who told a news outlet that the driver may have fallen asleep.

Brazil said that all the passengers interviewed told officers that they were asleep themselves before the crash occurred. According to Greyhound’s bus tracker, the vehicle had left from Los Angeles just before midnight. Its final destination was supposed to be Oakland. A CHP officer told NBC Bay Area the bus made a stop in Gilroy to let two people off.

According to CNN, the bus was also scheduled to make stops in Avenal, San Jose and San Francisco.

Bus crash Hwy 101

Bus crash Hwy 101

“We do apologize,” Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said. “Safety is the cornerstone of our business.”

She would not elaborate on any more details of the crash, saying it was under investigation.

Anthony Cordero was driving to his job in Palo Alto with his two children, ages 3 and 4, when he passed by the crash. He said he saw the bus “completely smashed” and “literally hanging” over the side of the concrete barrier, reports KSBW

“I feel really badly for the families involved,” Cordero said. “But I also feel thankful. I was running a little late. If I was running on time, I would have been in that lane.”

Authorities have not released the identity of the victims, but a family member confirmed to KCBS radio that one of the two victims was 51-year-old Sely Olivera of Monrovia in Los Angeles County. She died at the scene.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss said his agency is sending a team to investigate the crash.