Name of bus accident victim released
April 5, 2009
A mountain resort’s employee shuttle bus crashed on the main highway through California’s Sierra Nevada on Saturday, killing a passenger and injuring 27 others, authorities said.
The bus operated by the Resort at Squaw Creek veered off the road, “struck a guardrail and rolled several times” before stopping in a ditch along Interstate 80, about 20 miles west of Reno, said California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Skeen.
Some of the 30 or so people aboard were thrown from the bus, Skeen said.
Pablo Olivas, 25, of Reno, was pronounced dead at the scene, said the Nevada County, Calif., sheriff’s office.
The driver suffered “moderate to major” injuries and was being interviewed by officers, Skeen said.
Kevin Romero, a spokesman for ambulance service REMSA, said 27 people were taken to hospitals in Reno and Truckee, Calif.
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The most severely injured were taken to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, where two were listed in critical condition, three in serious condition, one in fair condition and one in undetermined condition, said hospital spokeswoman Nicole Shearer.
They suffered head injuries, broken bones and bruises, she said.
The bus was transporting employees from Reno to the upscale resort north of Lake Tahoe when the accident occurred, said company spokesman Les Pedersen.
“The driver had a very good record,” he said. “The bus had no mechanical problems that I’m aware of.”
The names of the driver and other passengers were not immediately released.
The resort is located at the foot of the Squaw Valley USA ski resort, site of the 1960 Winter Games, and is separately owned.
Bella Fritz, a passer-by from Sparks, described seeing passengers at the scene before authorities arrived.
“One guy was stuck under the bus,” she told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I ran back and got a blanket and covered one lady who had flown out of it and hit her head on a rock. She was in bad shape, but breathing. I rubbed her back until someone got here.”
The accident shut down all lanes of the interstate for about 90 minutes. The westbound lanes of I-80 were closed for several hours.
The cause of the 8:30 a.m. accident was under investigation.