LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The family of one of two passengers ejected and killed when a Greyhound bus crashed in San Jose on a rainy Tuesday morning spoke about their loss.
Antonio Olivera said his mother, Fely Olivera, 51, was returning to the Bay Area after visiting his two brothers in Azusa, where one of them is a senior in high school.
Antonio said he found out from various news reports that his mom’s bus had crashed. He called a half dozen hospitals before the coroner confirmed the worst.
“Everything is still surreal. I was just at the bus station waiting for her this morning. They have her green card. She just got here last September from the Philippines and her bag,” Antonio said. “She always thinks of her kids first.”
Alvin Olivera is on the East Coast preparing for deployment in the Navy. He said he was numb after learning the news about his mother. “I wish I could have said goodbye. She’s perfect. She’s a perfect mother. That’s all I can describe her as.”
The bus, carrying 20 passengers, struck some safety barrels before rolling onto the concrete center divider on the northbound 101 Freeway around 6:40 a.m., according to the CHP.
Some passengers reported that the driver from Victorville seemed to have been nodding off before the bus went out of control. But investigators have not determined whether fatigue played a role in the crash.
Alex Ehlers said he could feel the bus weaving and the driver jerking the wheel. Shortly after, there was a loud sound “like a lightning strike hit the bus” and a loud scraping sound for about 10 seconds as the bus see-sawed along the center median. He said passengers were “yelling and screaming.” Ehlers said he climbed out with his girlfriend and saw people lying face down in the concrete.
The driver, who was among the injured, stopped for a caffeine jolt at the last stop before the wreck. “He stated that he did feel fatigued and that he did get some coffee in Gilroy when he dropped off two passengers,” CHP Officer Chris Miceli said.
Greyhound spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said bus number 86558, which left Los Angeles Monday at 11:30 p.m. for San Francisco, was on schedule with stops planned in Gilroy, San Jose and Oakland.
Twenty passengers were on board. Ten and the driver suffered mostly minor injuries.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. The CHP said drugs and alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
Family and friends who want information on their loved ones can call 1-800-972-4583.