SAN JOSE – The Victorville bus driver who remained a free man after a 2016 Greyhound bus crash was arrested on Tuesday night. Gary Bonslater, 60, was arrested for vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence at his home in the 16000 block of Little Chief Place.
Through an intense investigation into the Tuesday, January 19, 2016, crash that killed two Bay Area women and injured several of the 21 passengers, detectives were able to rule out mechanical failure or drug/alcohol as factors.
The weather was described as having moderate-to-heavy rainfall and riders said that the Bonslater the driver, who was required to have 9 hours of sleep before driving the bus appeared to be drowsy. Bonslater did not refute the claim and he actually, according to CHP officials, confirmed that he was in fact drowsy. In order to combat the drowsiness, Bonslater stopped in Gilroy to purchase a cup of coffee before getting back on the road and crashing only 20 minutes later. The bus left Los Angeles on Monday, January 18, 2016, en route to downtown San Jose and San Francisco before reaching its ultimate destination in Oakland.
The bus was on the US-101 in San Jose when at around 6:40 a.m. it slammed into barrels, causing it to roll onto the center divider. Two women, Maria De Jesus Ortiz Velasquez, 75, of Salinas and Fely Olivera, 51, of San Francisco were ejected from the bus and died at the scene. The injuries ranged from minor injuries, that were treated at the scene, while moderate and major injury victims were rushed to the hospital. Driver Gary Bonslater also sustained moderate injuries.
Over a year later, on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) partially blamed the road markings for the disastrous collision. They stated that there were no reflective warning markers, where they should have been just before the gore point which separated the carpool lane connector from Highway 101 to Highway 85. The road markings, which would have been the responsibility of Caltrans, may have confused the bus driver into thinking he was in the connector lane rather than heading into the concrete barrier, the NTSB officials said.
Still, close to a month after that finding, Bonslater was arrested by Victorville deputies and was booked into the High Desert Detention Center. Bonslater posted bail on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at around 7:27 p.m. and has no court hearings scheduled at this time. Bonslater, if convicted may face up to 1 year per count.
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