NEWBURY PARK : Investigators Seek Cause of Bus Crash

Accident investigators are trying to determine whether failed brakes, driver error or a combination of both caused an Air Force bus to careen out of control and overturn Saturday morning on a steep, winding Ventura County road.

The bus was carrying 25 people, most of them teen-agers in the Civil Air Patrol who were on their way for a tour of Point Mugu Naval Air Station.

Nineteen people suffered minor injuries. Two others remained at Ventura County Medical Center on Monday. Gloria Zabala, 39, of Ontario was in serious condition and 14-year-old Patrick Long was in fair condition. Zabala is not affiliated with the Civil Air Patrol, relatives said.

The driver, Mark Floyd, 32, of Covina told authorities he became lost on the way to Point Mugu, and started down two-lane Potrero Road after asking for directions. At the top of a steep grade, the bus's brakes went out, Floyd told CHP officers.

Numerous skid marks, however, indicate the brakes may not have fully failed, said Highway Patrol Officer Joe Davy, who is in charge of the investigation.

"If there were some type of skid marks there must have been some type of brake application," he said. "But that doesn't rule out a systems failure after that point."

Davy said a team of CHP accident specialists from Los Angeles will examine the bus' brakes this week in an Oxnard tow yard where the bus was impounded. In addition, Floyd and passengers who were near the front of the bus will be interviewed.

Floyd, who is in the Civil Air Patrol, has a military driver's license issued in Texas and was authorized to drive the 45-passenger bus, which belongs to March Air Force Base in Riverside, said Lt. Col. Bob Fowler of the Civil Air Patrol.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
68°