Conflicting accounts emerge in crash of C-Tran buses

Number of passengers involved under dispute

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Competing accounts have emerged in a crash involving two C-Tran buses Monday morning.

A C-Tran official on Wednesday said that five passengers were on board during the crash at the intersection of Highway 99 and Northeast 88th Street. At the same time, people claiming to be passengers have told the Columbian via email that there were six people on the bus at the time of the 6:45 a.m. crash.

Both accounts contradict the Clark County Sheriff's Office, which reported that no passengers were on either of the buses. Sheriff's Sgt. Duncan Hoss stood by the county's original report when asked about the discrepancy Wednesday.

"I don't understand where the disconnect is coming from," Hoss said. The patrol sergeant will be notified and will look into the incident, he added.

The crash occurred at 6:45 a.m. Monday when bus driver Patricia Hern was driving north on Highway 99 in foggy conditions and ran a red light at the intersection of Highway 99 and Northeast 88th Street, officials said. Her bus struck a southbound bus turning east onto 88th Street with a green arrow, according to the sheriff’s office.

C-Tran spokesman Jim Quintana said that Hern’s bus was carrying five passengers. However, Quintana said that video equipment on Hern’s bus had malfunctioned and video was not captured. Video footage from a southbound bus driven by Sharon Stewart shows no passengers.

Nobody was taken to the hospital and C-Tran has received no claims of injury, Quintana said.

The two C-Tran drivers underwent a drug and alcohol test and remain on administrative leave pending an investigation, which is standard protocol following a collision, Quintana said.

C-Tran bus crash