A Houston Metro bus driver died Thursday morning after suddenly losing control of a city bus he was driving on Texas 288 in South Houston. Authorities said David Sayers, a 40-year-old father of two girls, died at the scene of the crash. Sayer’s death was the municipal bus agency’s first driver fatality in at least 20 years. No other injuries were reported.
A preliminary investigation found that Sayers was driving a soon-to-be-retired articulated bus – a longer style of bus that has an accordion-like fold in the center – southbound on 288. Around 8:30 am, Sayers struck a dump truck also traveling south and lost control of the bus. The vehicle then struck the pillar of a railroad bridge and broke in half. No passengers were on board at the time.
Houston Metro officials, who have taken over the investigation from the Houston Police Department, said that they have collected several conflicting witness reports. Sayers had an accident-free driving record, a good employee record, and possessed a valid commercial driver’s license, He also received the special training he needed to operate an articulated bus.
Metro officials also report that Sayers’ 1999 bus was in good condition. Although it had 315,000 miles on it, most of the city’s buses that age had between 500,000 and 600,000 miles. Houston Metro performs maintenance on the buses every 6,000 miles and inspects each bus every evening. However, because of their age, transit authorities planned to phase the older buses out of operation by the end of the summer and replace them with new vehicles.
Another possible crash factor authorities are investigating is whether Mr. Sayers had a health condition that could have contributed to the crash. Federal law requires that commercial drivers meet some basic health standards before they receive their CDL, but Houston Metro does not require drivers to submit to routine medical checkups.