SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Two women were killed and several others injured when a Greyhound bus traveling to the Bay Area overnight from Los Angeles flipped over and crashed on northbound U.S. Highway 101 in San Jose Tuesday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The crash was reported at 6:38 a.m. near the connector ramp between northbound Highway 101 and northbound Highway 85 during a steady rain, CHP officials said.
Several passengers have told KCBS that the driver fell asleep at the wheel right before the crash. However, investigators would not confirm the passengers claims.
A CHP officer said both passengers who were killed were ejected from the bus. The driver suffered minor injuries and was among those taken to the hospital.
The CHP said six were injured serious enough to require treatment at local hospitals. Meanwhile, city fire Capt. Christopher Salcido said 13 victims suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
All passengers who were not injured were placed onto a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus, according to the CHP.
The Greyhound bus carrying 20 passengers and the driver rolled onto the center divider of Highway 101, a major commuting thoroughfare, while heading north around 6:40 a.m., said Lanesha Gipson, a Greyhound spokeswoman.
The vehicle left Los Angeles at 11:30 p.m. Monday with stops planned in San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, Gipson said. The driver began his shift in LA, and the company requires operators to rest nine hours between trips, she 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.
CHP was not giving us a specific cause to the crash as of early Tuesday afternoon, but passengers KPIX 5 spoke to believe the driver may have fallen asleep just before crashing.
They base this off the fact that at one point during the trip from Los Angeles, she pulled over on the side of the freeway and tried to wake herself up a bit before continuing north. A few miles later, the accident happened.
The driver stopped for a caffeine jolt at the last stop before the wreck, about 30 miles south in Gilroy, according to the California Highway Patrol.
“He stated that he did feel fatigued and that he did get some coffee in Gilroy when he dropped off two passengers,” CHP Officer Chris Miceli said, adding that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
The bus careened into safety barrels, flipped over and came to rest on the center divider. Several lanes of the highway in both directions were closed by the accident.
The CHP said the diamond lanes in both directions would be blocked for at least eight hours. Shortly before 3 p.m., cranes pulled the bus off of the freeway divider and left it upright on its wheels.
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.
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