Decision on charges in Roaring Fork Transport Authority bus crash may come next week
The Aspen Times
An official with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Glenwood Springs said Tuesday that a decision on whether charges will be filed in the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus crash on Oct. 26 might be forthcoming sometime next week.
District Attorney Sherry Caloia is out of town this week, but others in the office are looking over preliminary information supplied by the Colorado State Patrol, which investigated the accident, according to Assistant District Attorney Scott Turner.
Initial state police reports stated that there were injuries to 11 riders, three of which were serious. One woman who was rushed by ambulance to Aspen Valley Hospital had a broken collarbone and a deep laceration on her face. One of the riders taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung. Another passenger who also was transported to Glenwood Springs experienced a broken collarbone and broken pelvis, police said.
The bus driver, Jaime Nunez, 54, of Glenwood Springs, did not seek medical treatment for his minor injuries, authorities have said. He has been placed on administrative leave, according to a RFTA official.
The accident occurred at about 7 p.m. on a straight stretch of Highway 82 near mile marker 16, just west of the El Jebel area. Police said the bus was westbound on an Aspen-to-Glenwood route when it came upon a slow-moving tractor ahead of it in the right lane. The back of the tractor, which was towing mowing equipment, had running and flashing lights but not a slow-moving-vehicle emblem as is required by law, police said.
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The bus driver tried to avoid hitting the tractor with a quick move into the left lane but lost control, and the bus began to skid, police said. It passed the tractor, crossed the right lane and then struck a concrete barrier on the right shoulder. After hitting the barrier, the bus rolled and came to rest on its left side, police said.
The day after the accident, a state policeman said the bus driver may have been speeding beyond the 65-mph limit, but a RFTA executive said GPS data suggested that he wasn’t. Following the crash, Nunez tested negative for drugs and alcohol, authorities have said.
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U.S. Forest Service officials in the Roaring Fork Valley say prescribed burns must play a bigger role in public land management.