Police: Bus driver in fatal accident was not impaired

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

Updated: November 14, 2012, 6:32 PM

 

Investigators have determined that a driver for a Hazel Dell-based limousine service, who was implicated in the September death of an 11-year-old passenger, was not impaired when the passenger took a fatal fall from the window of one of the company’s party buses in Portland, according to a Portland Police Bureau news release Wednesday.

Five Star Limousine remains under investigation for safety violations related to the death of the passenger, Angie Hernandez of Milwaukie, Ore. So far, investigators have determined that there were safety violations and are reviewing whether the company violated city codes for driver permits and company permits.

Hernandez was sitting on top of a couch in one of the company’s party buses and fell when an emergency window popped open as the bus was traveling in downtown Portland.

Interviews of witnesses on the bus have indicated that none of the passengers pulled on one of the red emergency release handles for the window, the news release stated.

All findings have been or will be presented to the Multnomah District Attorney’s Office for possible consideration of criminal charges by a grand jury.

Businesses are required to obtain separate licenses from different agencies to operate party buses and limousines.

At the time of the accident, Five Star Limousine did not have a permit to provide limo service in Washington, according to the state Department of Licensing. The company also was not licensed to operate a party bus in the state.

Five Star had recently received a permit to operate in Portland. Four of its vehicles had passed safety inspections; however, the bus in question wasn’t one of them, according to The Oregonian. The bus driver also did not have a permit to drive the bus, The Oregonian also reported.