Bus video released in fatal Kirkland crash



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Posted on May 21, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 21 at 5:25 PM

Washington State Patrol has released video from the Sound Transit bus involved in a deadly crash that left two people dead and one person injured in Kirkland last May.

Initially, the footage seems to support the bus driver's claim that the brakes failed. After the collision, in the audio, you can hear a passenger trying to get the driver to stop.

"Stop the bus man," the passenger says.

The driver answers with something intelligible. The passenger then says, "You have no brakes?"

The driver answers, "I've got no brakes."

While the audio backs up the bus driver's version of the story, that something was mechanically wrong with the bus, investigators say they found nothing wrong with the brakes.

"In this particular case we were able to rule out completely the environment and the vehicle," as the cause of the crash, said Lt. Shane Nelson with the Washington State Patrol.

Nelson says what is on the footage before the crash points to driver error: that the red light could be seen 1600 feet away, and that the driver doesn't appear to act coming up on an intersection and a bus stop at 45 miles an hour.

The Washington State Patrol said the bus driver failed to stop for a red light and crashed the bus into an SUV. That collision killed Robert and Elizabeth Rotta and injured their son, Kendall Rotta.

The video shows four angles on the bus at the time of the collision with the vehicle. (Warning: Video contains audio of the crash)

The victims' family has filed a lawsuit in the case. First Transit, Inc., the bus transportation carrier contracted by Sound Transit, is named as the defendant in the lawsuit.