Police Consider Charges In Fatal RTD Bus Crash
Bus Driver Was Contract Worker For Veolia
Last Updated: 1145 days ago
Investigators are considering charges against the driver of a Denver city bus that ran a red light and struck two vehicles, killing two people. Police spokesman Matthew Murray says a decision on charges was expected in the next several days.Murray said the Regional Transportation District bus was northbound on Lincoln Street, a major route in the city, when it collided with a Volkswagen Rabbit and a pickup truck at about 5 p.m. Saturday, killing the two people in the car. The Denver City Coroner's Office has identified the victims as the driver of the Volkswagen, Dustin Peletier and his passenger, Carla Miranda, both were 29-year-old Denver residents. Peletier died from head injuries secondary to the collision impact, the coroner's office said Monday. Miranda died due to multiple blunt force injuries secondary to the collision impact. In all, fourteen other people were taken to St. Anthony's and Denver General hospitals, Murray said. Denver Fire Department personnel had to extricate several people from the three vehicles. Among the injured was the woman driver of the RTD bus, who remained at Denver Health Medical Center Monday, said Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson. A hospital official said the driver's condition could not be released because of privacy laws.Authorities have not identified the bus driver, who was not an RTD employee but a worker contracted through Veolia Transporation. About half of RTD's bus service is privately contracted.Veolia Transportation's Web site describes it as the largest private transportation provider in North America. It operates rail, paratransit, taxi and airport shuttle services, including bus transit in Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Atlanta, Baltimore, and suburban Washington, D.C., and Toronto. Voelia's subsidiary Connex Railroad lost the Southern California Metrolink commuter rail contract after a deadly 2008 collision between a Metrolink train and a Union Pacific freight train that killed 25 people and injured more than 100 in Chatsworth, Calif.The National Transportation Safety Board determined the accident's probable cause was the "egregious" safety violations of a Connex train engineer who was preoccupied with sending a text message and failed to notice warning signals and red light just before the collision."Citing a mutual commitment to providing an exceptional safety environment for passengers, employees and the communities it serves," Metrolink decided last month to have Amtrak take over its train operations June 26.In the Denver bus crash, witnesses said the bus struck the car first, then pushed the pickup into a parking lot and against a billboard pole. The truck's driver emerged with assistance and sat on a curb until an ambulance arrived.The bus driver was taken to a hospital with injuries, said RTD spokeswoman Pauletta Thomas. The driver's condition wasn't immediately known. Thomas said the transportation agency was working with police to determine what happened. Keith Napodano, who was returning from a snowboarding trip Saturday, said that he was traveling behind the bus when he and his girlfriend saw it "punch through the red light." "I watched the blue car get T-boned and all the windows exploded," Napodano said. "It did a full 360 and a half." In January, an RTD bus driven by a Veolia employee ran a red light, causing a multicar pileup at Florida Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard. 7NEWS contacted Veolia to find out more about the driver and the company's training procedures, but our calls were not returned.