Dash cam video of a bus crash on a busy Los Angeles County highway shows the Oct. 14 incident may have been the result of road rage.
Forty people were injured when a white charter bus marked “Transit Systems” traveling in the right northbound lane of the 405 freeway in the San Fernando Valley suddenly veered left across multiple lanes of traffic. The bus crashed through a concrete divider and stopped splayed across the southbound lanes.
At least two other vehicles were involved in the bus crash, which occurred just after 1 p.m. in the North Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Twenty-five of those injured in the crash were taken to area hospitals and five, including the driver, were listed in serious condition.
The patients in serious condition were three women, ages 49, 60 and 88, and two men, ages 30 and 69, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart told Fox 11 News Los Angeles. Six others were listed in fair condition after the crash.
According to ABC 7 News Los Angeles, witnesses said the bus crash was the result of road rage. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is looking into those claims but hasn’t confirmed them.
The crash occurred after the bus passed a white vehicle towing a trailer. A passenger on the bus reportedly said the driver of that vehicle then cut in front of the bus and slammed on the brakes. The driver of the bus, identified as 60-year-old Ophelia Rodriguez, lost control of the vehicle trying to avoid a collision, the witness told ABC 7.
CHP Officer Leland Tang told Fox 11 that all the witnesses are being interviewed and a forensic analysis of the bus is being conducted to determine whether there were any mechanical problems, such as steering or brake issues.
If investigators find that road rage led to the crash, the driver of the other vehicle could face criminal charges. The driver of the vehicle that witnesses say caused the crash did not stop, but they said there was damage to the back end of that vehicle. That driver is considered a person of interest, according to ABC 30 Action News Fresno.
Officer Tang told Fox 11 that the bus driver “took the brunt of the impact when it came to that wall” and said the crash would have been much worse if it happened on another day.
“It happened on a Sunday, so if we were to apply the same scenario to a Monday, same time Monday, we definitely would have had some fatalities,” the officer said.