CHP: Driver of SUV involved in Greyhound crash was drinking

FRESNO, Calif.

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18-year-old Sylvia Garay was driving the Chevy Trailblazer that overturned before it was struck by the bus early Thursday morning.

Investigators say the teenager had been drinking. The three girls had left the Starline nightclub in the Tower District just before the crash. The CHP is trying to figure out if they were served alcohol.

The 18-year-old driver, along with one other girl inside that SUV had traces of it in their system. It's a tragic development for the victim's families.

For the second time in less than a week, Vannesa Bustillos has been forced to cope with devastating news.

On Thursday, her 79-year-old grandfather, Tomas Ponce, was one of the six people killed when the Greyhound bus he was riding in collided with an overturned SUV on Highway 99. Her grandmother is still in critical condition.

On Monday, Bustillos' family learned the 18-year-old girl, who investigators say caused the chain reaction crash, was drunk behind the wheel. "It just angers us so much that this could happen and that someone could. One judgment call could change our family forever."

The California Highway Patrol says Sylvia Garay had a blood alcohol level above 0.08 when the SUV she was driving made a hard left turn on Highway 99 and hit the center divider, before flipping over.

Investigators believe all three girls inside the SUV were alive before the Greyhound bus hit their car. "The young ladies had just been involved in that collision and they were actually trying to get out of that vehicle when the bus hit them."

Minutes before the crash, the three girls were at an 18 and over event held at the Starline nightclub in Fresno's Tower District.

Action News spoke with the owner, who did not want to comment on camera, but says they had more than enough security that night to prevent underage drinking -- including wristbands and bouncers. The promoter of the event, seconds those claims.

"We spend a lot of time and a lot of money making sure our event is safe, legal and above board. Just because they were there, doesn't mean they were drinking there."

Toxicology reports reveal 20-year-old Stephanie Cordoba who was a passenger in the SUV had small traces of alcohol in her system.

The other passenger, 19-year-old Vanessa Gonzalez did not. Toxicology reports also reveal the bus driver, and James Jewett was completely sober.

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