California Bus Accident Driver Was Not Licensed in State

Following a California bus accident on Sunday which killed 8 people and injured dozens, investigators indicated yesterday that the bus driver was not licensed to drive the commercial vehicle in California and was arrested on Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The charter bus taking people to a casino overturned Sunday near Williams, California, about 50 miles northwest of Sacramento. There were 43 passengers on board, and 8 of them died as a result of injuries in the bus accident.

According to police, the bus veered off the highway, lost control and turned completely over before finally ending up back on its wheels. In the process, some passengers were ejected from the bus and the roof was crushed in.

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On Monday, October 6, 2008, the bus driver, Quintin Watts, 52, was arrested while still in the hospital after the crash. It is suspected that he was driving under the influence and police have indicated that he was a diabetic who was taking insulin. Some passengers reported that the driver appeared to have fallen asleep at the wheel just before the bus went off the road.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that Watts was not licensed to drive the vehicle in California. He had lost his license nearly two years ago after receiving citations for speeding and other violations.

The bus owner, 68-year-old Daniel Cobb, who died in the accident, had a permit to drive the bus but did not list Watts as an employee. The bus was operating with an invalid Texas registration and license plate.

The fatal California bus accident occurred in the same area where a Greyhound bus crashed in 2005. In that accident, the bus left the highway and rolled onto its side, resulting in serious injuries for many of the passengers.

An accident lawyer representing people injured in the 2005 accident issued a press release indicating that potential lawsuits are being investigated in that case against the bus company for failing to install seat belts, which could have prevented the injuries.


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