AP

Lawsuit: Bus driver was sick, tired before fatal Utah crash

May 15, 2019, 7:53 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm
FILE - This Jan. 1, 2018, file photo, shows the aftermath of a Greyhound bus crash in Emery County, Utah. A man who suffered serious injuries when a Greyhound bus careened off a road in the Utah desert has sued the driver and the company, saying the driver was tired and sick and shouldn't have behind the wheel in a 2017 crash that killed one person and injured 12 others. Michael Edwards of Georgia says in the lawsuit filed Monday, May 13, 2019, in Nevada that Charles E. Saunders fell asleep after taking cold medicine and never hit the brakes as the bus flew off the highway and crashed into a canyon wall about 300 miles (483 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City. (Ben Tidswell/The Deseret News via AP, File)
(483 kilometers)

By BRADY McCOMBS Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Greyhound driver who authorities say fell asleep before the bus careened off a road in the Utah desert two years ago was tired, sick and should never have been behind the wheel, according to a new lawsuit over the crash that killed one person and injured 12 others.

Bus driver Charles E. Saunders fell asleep after taking cold medicine and never hit the brakes as the bus flew off a highway and crashed into a canyon wall about 300 miles (483 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, the lawsuit says. Michael Edwards of Georgia filed the claim Monday in a court in Nevada, where Saunders lives.

Edwards said he suffered a traumatic brain injury and fractures to his face, elbow, ribs and tibia and has racked up more than $500,000 in medical expenses. He is seeking damages to cover those costs as well as other economic losses from his injuries.

He asserts that Saunders requested a replacement driver for the route from Green River, Utah, to Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 2017 because he was feeling sick but that Greyhound didn’t send one.

Greyhound spokeswoman Crystal Booker declined to comment, citing company policy during lawsuits. It’s unknown if Saunders has an attorney, and no listed phone number could be found for him.

The lawsuit says Saunders had fallen asleep about 45 minutes before the crash and a passenger woke him up. Shortly before the crash, a passenger yelled at Saunders: “Driver! You’re sleeping!”

The bus flew off Interstate 70 and over a small ravine, hit a canyon wall and spun 180 degrees, the lawsuit says. While some passengers crawled out and tried to get help, others were pinned in the bus and couldn’t move, Edwards’ lawyers said.

Summer Pinzon, 13, of Azusa, California, was killed in the late-night crash.

Utah police said after the crash that they were investigating it as a possible negligent homicide case after finding cold medicine at the scene and getting reports that the driver was slumped over the wheel.

Prosecutors declined to charge Saunders because there was “no evidence of any impairment from drugs that would make this is a criminal case,” according to a memo released Wednesday by the Emery County attorney’s office. The office didn’t make the county attorney available for questions.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

Microsoft is cutting 10,000 workers, almost 5% of its workforce, in response to "macroeconomic cond...
MATT O'BRIEN, Associated Press

Job cuts in tech sector spread, Microsoft lays off 10,000

Microsoft said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that had just notified employees of the layoffs, some of which begin immediately.
12 days ago
exxon mobil sign pictured...
SETH BORENSTEIN and CATHY BUSSEWITZ Associated Press

Study: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted warming since 1970s

Exxon said its understanding of climate change evolved over the years and that critics are misunderstanding its earlier research.
18 days ago
FILE - Protesters, supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro, stand on the roof of the...
The Associated Press

Brazil and Jan. 6 in US: Parallel attacks, but not identical

RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil — Enraged protesters broke into government buildings that are the very symbol of their country’s democracy. Driven by conspiracy theories about their candidate’s loss in the last election, they smashed windows, sifted through the desks of lawmakers and trashed the highest offices in the land in a rampage that lasted hours […]
20 days ago
President Joe Biden pictured...
ZEKE MILLER AP White House Correspondent

DOJ reviewing potentially classified docs at Biden center

Special counsel to the president Richard Sauber said “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered at the offices of the Penn Biden Center.
21 days ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 06: A poster advertising the launch of Prince Harry's memoir "Spare" is s...
Jill Lawless Associated Press

Prince Harry says explosive book is a bid to ‘own my story’

Prince Harry defended his decision to publish a memoir that lays bare rifts inside Britain’s royal family.
21 days ago
utah capitol, a new bill heading to lawmakers will affect the utah sex offender registry...
HANNAH SCHOENBAUM Associated Press/Report for America

States target transgender health care in first bills of 2023

After a record flow of anti-transgender legislation last year, Republican state lawmakers this year are zeroing in on questions of bodily autonomy.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Lawsuit: Bus driver was sick, tired before fatal Utah crash