Brakes didn’t malfunction on bus that crashed, killed 2

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KIRKLAND — It was, by any measure, a horrific crash.

sound-transit-bus-crash“There are like two cars hit out here. Airbag just flew out.  A bus just flew out of control toward Lynnwood.  It’s crazy.  Somebody might be hurt out here. There’s glass all over the place.  Parts of stuff all over the place out here,” one 911 caller said.

Sadly, not only were there people hurt, Bob and Betty Rotta, married for 54 years, were killed in the crash.

“Um… it’s been… I miss my folks,” the Rotta’s son Kendall Rotta said.

Rotta was driving the car in which his parents died.

He survived with broken ribs and bruises and relives that night over and over again.

“I remember I was coming up over the overpass and the light was green and I looked to the intersection it looked clean, clear and… and it seemed just like a fraction of a second after that it was BAM,” Rotta said.

His parents were both sitting on the passenger side of the car and took the brunt of the impact.

A Good Samaritan handed him a cell phone to call 911.

On the 911 call Rotta can be heard talking about his parent’s condition.

“I think my dad might be gone and my mom is pretty bad shape and I am a little bit too,” Rotta said.

Witnesses say the Sound Transit bus was at the Totem Lake Transit Center when it blew through a red light and slammed into Rotta’s SUV.

The driver said his brakes failed but State Patrol investigators say they found no sign of any mechanical failure.

“What we’ve heard from the State Patrol as part of their investigation they’ve told us that during their test of the brakes everything worked as it should and we’re going to continue supporting them in their investigation,” Sound Transit spokesperson Bruce Gray said.

The investigation is ongoing as the State Patrol tries to figure out exactly what happened.

While they work Kendall Rotta wants just one thing.

“Closure. What actually happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? Is there something they can do to prevent it from happening somebody else?  If we could save lives that would be my best goal I think,” Rotta said.

The investigation is expected to take another six to nine months to complete.

The State Patrol will try to determine whether human or environmental factors may have contributed to the crash.

As for the driver, he remains on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Attempts to interview him for this story were unsuccessful.

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1 Comment

  • Tex

    I'd guess human error is the cause of this accident. Was the driver looking at a cell phone? Seems like it shouldn't take months to figure this out.

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