VENTURA : Cause of School Bus Crash Not Known

A California Highway Patrol spokesman said Wednesday that investigators do not know why two rear wheels popped off a Ventura Unified School District bus during a field trip last week.

The Oct. 21 accident on the Ventura Freeway left two E.P. Foster Elementary School students with minor injuries and a number of other children afraid to get on another bus, parents said.

The two wheels came off after 10 lug nuts became loose and popped off, CHP spokesman Jim Utter said. “Our inspectors were not able to determine the cause of the lug nuts coming off,” Utter said. Utter said “the driver apparently did comply with the law, in that a pre-trip inspection was performed.”

Vanessa Baker--who was accompanying her second-grade son on the field trip to a Santa Paula pumpkin patch when the accident occurred--said she was shocked that investigators did not find the accident’s cause.


“There was definitely a problem somewhere down the line. I just don’t see how 10 lug nuts could have just come loose during the drive,” said Baker, who is co-president of E.P. Foster’s PTA.

School district transportation officials were unavailable for comment. A secretary said the district would decline to comment until a copy of the CHP’s investigation report had been reviewed.