Story Summary

Sound Transit crash kills 2

KIRKLAND — A Sound Transit bus was traveling northbound on I-405 on May 6 when it took the bus-only lane to exit. An alleged mechanical failure occurred on the bus, and it ran a red light before slamming into a passenger vehicle, killing two and injuring one.

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sound transit bus crashSEATTLE — The Seattle Times reported that an investigation conducted by the Washington State Patrol found that the Sound Transit bus that crashed into an SUV on May 6 did not have any mechanical issues.

At the time of the crash, the bus was traveling northbound on I-405 when it took the bus-only lane to exit. It then ran a red light before slamming into a passenger vehicle, killing two and injuring one. The SUV was driven by Kendall Rotta, 51, who was taken to the hospital in satisfactory condition. His two parents, Elizabeth Rotta, 75, and Robert Rotta, 76, were both killed.

The bus then traveled more than 3,000 feet after it struck the SUV and the driver told troopers that the brakes had failed. The roadway was clear at the time and the driver did not appear to be impaired at the time of the accident, investigators said.

The State Patrol told the Times that mechanical inspections of the bus did not reveal any issues.

“Everything appears to be in working order,” Sgt. Jerry Cooper of WSP told the paper.
The Times said that the driver, Aleksandr Rukhlin, 54, of Everett, has not driven a transit bus since the accident. When he spoke with the paper, he told them “I just pushed on the pedal. There was nothing, I couldn’t stop the bus. The air pressure was fine — I don’t know why it didn’t work.”
He said after the impact, “I was confused … I lowed down the gear, and it couldn’t stop the bus.”
Read the complete Seattle Times article here.
Local News
05/08/13

Frantic 911 call after bus strikes car

Q13 FOX News

Local News
05/07/13

Bus driver in fatal crash: Brakes failed; probe to find out

Jeffrey Prinos was running to catch a bus in Kirkland Monday night and nearly found himself in the middle of a deadly crash involving his bus.

photo“All of a sudden I hear this big boom behind me, so I turned around and this bus and car had just collided,” said Prinos.

The Sound Transit bus blew through a red light at an intersection in the Totem Lake Transit Center, and plowed into a SUV, spinning the car towards him.

“I pretty much had to jump and skip because the car went right past me, almost hit me.”

The SUV was driven by Kendall Rotta, 51, who was taken to the hospital in satisfactory condition.

His two parents, Elizabeth Rotta, 75, and Robert Rotta, 76,  were both killed.

Now the State Patrol is trying to piece together how it happened.

The driver of the bus told police his brakes failed, but trooper Julie Judson said, “At this time we do not know that to be the case, that’s all just being taken on the word of the driver.”

Investigators said the driver didn’t appear to be impaired. He has been placed on paid leave while the investigation continues.

Bruce Gray, with Sound Transit, said the fleet is safe and inspected regularly.

“Before any bus leaves the yard, they go through a pretty extensive safety check, which includes full on testing out the brakes before it ever leaves the yard,” said Gray.

The bus was based out of Snohomish County and  maintained by Community Transit.

A spokesman for Community Transit said there are no plans to pull any buses off the road unless drivers begin reporting issues about brakes or if the police report reveals problems.

After seeing what he saw Monday night, Jeffrey Prinos admitted he’s nervous about getting back on a bus.

Bruce Gray said it’s still one of the safest ways to travel.

“We haven’t had a fatal accident like this since we started in ’99 and we carry about 53,000  people a day up and down the region.”

“This is a horrible accident and a horrible anomaly.”

The Washington State Patrol is still seeking witnesses to the bus crash.

Contact Detective Sergeant Jerry Cooper at (360) 805-1192 or Detective Ben McBride at (360) 805-1195.

Local News
05/07/13

Brakes on bus that killed 2 being inspected

sound transit bus crashSEATTLE — Troopers with the Washington State Patrol are taking a close look at the brakes on a Sound Transit bus that was involved in a fatal collision in Kirkland Monday night.

The bus apparently ran a red light as it was exiting Interstate 405 and plowed into a SUV, killing an elderly couple. The couple’s 51-year old son, the driver, was taken to the hospital in satisfactory condition.

Several passengers on the bus also received minor injuries in the accident.

After hitting the SUV, investigators said the bus traveled another half-mile before stopping. They said the driver of the bus blamed the crash on brake failure.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — A female passenger riding in a 2010 Ford Escape struck by a Sound Transit bus was pronounced dead Tuesday morning, Washington State Patrol said.

The woman, 75-year-old Elizabeth Rotta, was the second fatality in accident at 128th Street and Interstate 405 Monday night. Robert Rotta, 76, a passenger in the Escape, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle is still in the hospital facing serious injuries. Everyone in the car was wearing a seatbelt.

soundtransitbusAccording to Washington State Patrol, the Sound Transit bus was traveling northbound on I-405 when it took the bus-only lane to exit. An alleged mechanical failure occurred on the bus, and it ran a red light before slamming into the car.

Some of the 35 passengers on the bus were treated with minor injuries. The roadway was blocked for more than six hours.

The driver claimed his brakes were not working, police sad. He was tested for drugs and alcohol at the scene, and the results are pending. Investigators are checking into potential mechanical failures with the bus.

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