- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A trial is underway to determine who caused a Central California crash nearly five years ago between a Greyhound bus and an SUV that killed six people.

The family of Sylvia Garay disputes the California Highway Patrol’s finding that the 18-year-old was drunk and responsible for overturning the Chevrolet TrailBlazer that was struck later by the Greyhound bus. The July 22, 2010, accident happened on Highway 99 in Fresno. Garay and two others in the SUV were killed along with three people on the bus, including the driver.

Attorneys for the families of Garay and her two friends argue, rather, that Greyhound was at fault because the driver, James Jewett, was speeding in the fast lane, wasn’t wearing his glasses, and the bus had bad brakes, the Fresno Bee reported Wednesday (https://bit.ly/1AoJ9Jd ). Garay wasn’t even driving, as a CHP investigation had found, the attorneys for the three friends told jurors in opening statements.

“We’re not looking for sympathy. We’re looking for justice,” said attorney Stuart Chandler, who represents two of the killed SUV passengers.

Greyhound attorney Dana Fox said that Jewett, an experienced bus driver, was well rested, wearing his glasses, and the bus’s breaks were found to be in good condition. The bus company has counter-sued, saying Garay’s mother shouldn’t have loaned the SUV to her daughter. “It as a textbook drunk-driving accident,” Fox said.

Surviving bus passengers, other crash witnesses and the CHP officer who authored the 627-page report detailing the accident are expected to testify in the trial that could last five weeks.


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