A bus driver was killed and three passengers critically injured when the tour bus they were traveling in collided with a utility truck near the Utah-Nevada border Oct. 28. The driver of the bus, Pita Asiata, 53, of Bountiful, Utah, was the father Minnesota Vikings running back Matt Asiata, officials investigating the scene said.
The bus, operated by Utah-based company Le Bus, was carrying 50 passengers when the accident occurred on Interstate 80. The vehicle departed from Wendover, Nev., and was bound for Salt Lake City, according to bus company officials.
The Utah Highway Patrol said that Mr. Asiata was impaled by a drilling device on the utility truck. The Associated Press reported that the truck was being used by a construction crew performing maintenance work in the area. According to the Deseret News, the truck slowed down in the far left lane so it could drive into the median and turn around. It was daylight at the time of the crash, investigating authorities said.
A member of the crew who was driving a vehicle in front of the utility truck said that the truck has its hazard lights on and the auger was properly marked with an orange flag.
The drilling auger attached to the back of the truck went through the windshield of the bus, striking Mr. Asiata, who was declared dead at the scene.
In addition to three passengers who were critically injured in the crash, a number of others, including some on the construction crew, received minor injuries. A pregnant woman aboard the bus reported feeling labor pains and contractions after the crash and was taken to a nearby hospital.
Mr. Asiata has been driving for Le Bus since February 2009 and has had only one minor accident on his record from when his bus struck a parked car.
The crash prompted three investigations, one by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the commercial bus and tuck industry, one by the Utah Highway Patrol, and an internal investigation by Le Truck.
Matt Asiata, 26, attended high school in the Salt Lake City area and played football for the University of Utah before signing with the Vikings.