Woman killed in head-on crash with tour bus in Madera County

There were frightening moments Thursday afternoon in Madera County when a tour bus full of people collided with a car, killing the driver.
There were frightening moments Thursday afternoon in Madera County when a tour bus full of people collided with a car, killing the driver.

The crash happened around 5:15 p.m. on Highway 145 just east of Highway 41. The bus driver was emotionally distraught after the crash.

Tony Moniz says he's never had anything like this happen in his 30-year career. Moniz says he had nowhere to go when the Chevy crossed into his lane.

"I came over to the ditch to try to avoid her, but I couldn't," Moniz said. "She came right to me, she hit me and the car went the other direction and it ended up here."

The California Highway Patrol says the woman and her dog died in the crash. Fortunately none of the dozens of elderly passengers on the bus were injured.

"I was sitting down and just shaking. I see the car hitting the bus," said tour coordinator Teresa Oliveira. She says the bus had just left Table Mountain Casino and was headed back to San Jose.

Investigators have not identified the woman killed. But witnesses say she was driving erratically moments before impact. "The car going on both sides of the street, went left, went right, whent left, going right," Oliveira said.

"As far as the reasons why the driver may have been driving erratically, we're not sure at this time," said CHP Sgt. John Johnson.

The two-lane Highway 145 was shut down during the crash investigation. A second bus was brought in to take the passenger home to the Bay Area.

"I can't describe it," Moniz said. "It's very sad. I really can't explain to you how I feel because this is terrible."

The highway patrol says it's still not clear if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. They're also wondering if the dog factored into the driver's behavior -- because it wasn't strapped in.

The woman killed is said to have been 60 years old and from Coarsegold.



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