WELD COUNTY, Colo. – Police on Friday identified the driver believed to have fallen asleep while driving on Weld County Road 49 Thursday, which led to a crash with a school bus that injured 27 people, as 36-year-old William Carroll of Littleton.
Colorado State Patrol additionally told Denver7 Thursday evening that Carroll was cited with careless driving causing injury. He was issued a summons to appear in court. The crash happened on County Road 49 near the intersection of Country Road 24 3/4 near Hudson around 4 p.m.
There were 35 people aboard the Greeley-Evans School District 6 bus when the crash happened Thursday afternoon who were on their way back from a field trip at Elitch Gardens. Twenty-seven were injured, including 19 students from Northridge and Greeley Central high schools.
District spokesperson Theresa Myers said Friday morning that there were still “a few” staff members and students still hospitalized.
CSP troopers told Denver7 Thursday that Carroll said he’d fallen asleep while driving northbound on CR49. His vehicle drifted into the southbound lanes and sideswiped the school bus, which veered off the road and rolled on its side. The truck also went off the road and stopped hundreds of feet away in a corn field.
Carroll works for RoadSafe Traffic Systems and was driving one of the company’s trucks at the time of the crash. The company said in a statement it was launching an investigation into the incident.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to all those on board the school bus involved in the accident. We deeply regret the accident, and are launching a full investigation into what happened. Safety is our first priority, and we are doing what we can to help first responders, law enforcement, those who were injured, and their families,” the company’s statement said.
But Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that RoadSafe currently carries a “conditional” safety rating with the agency, which defines such a rating as: “a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard that could result in occurrences listed in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Rules and Notices (FMCSRs).”
The FMCSA shows that the company received its conditional rating on Dec. 10, 2017 after an Oct. 20, 2017 compliance review. It is the mid-level rating on the agency’s scale—above “unsatisfactory” and below “satisfactory.”
FMCSA records show the company has been involved in three crashes involving injuries and 12 crashes in which a vehicle needed to be towed afterward over the past two years.
The drivers also received 19 unsafe driving violations—most for failing to use a seat belt, speeding or other traffic infractions.
And they also show that the company’s drivers have been inspected 124 times in the two years prior to Thursday, after which 12 were removed from service. Twenty-three of 90 vehicles inspected (25.6 percent) were taken out of service over that period, and two of seven hazmat inspections resulted in out-of-service determinations. All were above the national average, according to the agency.
The FMCSA records show the company has 501 drivers and 1,097 various vehicles. Last year, its drivers drove 17.9 million total miles, according to the data.