- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 27, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — A Greyhound bus ran off a highway, overturned and slid at least 100 yards on its side before hitting a tree yesterday, killing a pregnant woman and a man who were aboard, authorities said.

Authorities said driver fatigue might have contributed to the crash. The previous night, the driver had traveled from Fresno to Los Angeles, then left Los Angeles shortly after 3 a.m. yesterday. He had been on the road for about four hours when the bus overturned.

Dozens of the 44 persons aboard the San Francisco-bound bus were hurt, at least seven of them with major injuries.

Four survivors were trapped in the wreckage and had to be rescued with hydraulic equipment, and some of the most seriously injured were airlifted to hospitals, authorities said.

Faro Jahani, 50, of San Francisco, and Martha Contreras, a 23-year-old Santa Maria resident who was seven months pregnant, were killed, said Lt. Dan Minor of the California Highway Patrol.

Seven persons suffered major injuries, four had moderate injuries and 31 had minor injuries after the bus went down an embankment along Highway 101 in Santa Maria shortly after 7 a.m., said Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Keith Cullom.

Santa Maria, which was in the media spotlight this year during the four-month child-molestation trial of singer Michael Jackson, is about 75 miles north of Santa Barbara.

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