The driver of a regional public transit bus that was involved in an accident in late October will not be charged in the incident according to a statement released by the 9th Judicial District attorney’s office. The driver, Jaime Nunez, works for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), and he was driving the bus on Highway 82 when he encountered a slow-moving tractor trailer and the accident ensued. Eleven passengers on board the bus were hospitalized as a result of the accident.
The tractor trailer driver, Travis Wingfield, is being charged with a Class B traffic offense for not having a slow-moving vehicle emblem displayed on his vehicle. That citation is considered a minor infraction that comes with a monetary fine.
There were twelve people including the driver on board the RFTA bus at the time of the accident, and the driver was the only one among them that did not require hospitalization. According to his statement he came upon the tractor trailer in the early evening and had to swerve to avoid missing it because it was moving so slowly. After cutting left his bus veered briefly into the median and then corrected itself onto the highway, but hit a modular barrier on the side of the road and then rolled onto its side. There were some serious injuries reported but all of the passengers are now home.
According to the report from the state police, the tractor trailer was traveling at a rate of 20 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone, and the vehicle’s lights were not properly alerting the traffic around it. The driver of the RFTA bus tested negative for drugs and alcohol and it was determined that he was travelling within the legal speed limit for the area.
The tractor trailer was being driven for a local ranch, and according to Colorado law this type of heavy machinery that is not travelling above 25 miles per hour is required to indicate their status via a slow-moving vehicle emblem. The CEO of the RFTA indicated that had the driver not swerved the accident would have been far worse and that the correct decision was made.