Bus driver cited in Monday crash in South Carson

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The driver of a tour bus that lost its brakes Monday morning on Highway 50 West and crashed into a pickup at a busy South Carson City intersection was cited Thursday by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

John L. Cook, 48, of South Lake Tahoe received three misdemeanor citations for allegedly disregarding a traffic control device, operating an unsafe vehicle and for the bus' brakes being out of adjustment, said Trooper Chuck Allen.

The tickets carry a total fine of $351.

Cook was driving the Amador Stage Lines coach and was taking people from South Lake Tahoe to Reno-Tahoe International Airport when, he said, the brakes failed coming down Highway 50.

At the intersection with Highway 395, Cooke drove into southbound traffic, trapping a pickup between the bus and a semi-truck.

When the pickup was shoved free of the two, it rolled once and rested with its undercarriage blocking the bus' door. The passengers said they had to escape through the windows.

Pickup driver John K. Theisen, 68, of Minden, was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, where he was treated for minor to moderate injuries, the trooper said.

Allen noted Highway 50 has several runaway truck ramps, but the driver said he was beyond the last one when he noticed his brakes weren't working while approaching the traffic light at the intersection with Highway 395, authorities said.

Failure to use the runaway ramp resulted in the citation for disregard of a traffic control device, Allen said.

Under federal safety regulations, any commercial motor vehicle that has 25 percent or more of its brakes out of adjustment is to be taken out of service.

An inspection of the three-axle tour bus showed two of its six brakes, or 33 percent, were out of adjustment.

"It's every commercial motor-vehicle driver's responsibility to do a pre-trip check of their vehicle," Allen said.

There were 21 people on the bus. Nine were treated at the scene. No one was seriously hurt.


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