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Cause of Santa Maria bus crash determined, driver not to be cited

California Highway Patrol has determined that the female driver of a Kia SUV that collided with a school bus Monday morning was responsible for the crash.

CHP said the driver will not be cited.

Witness statements said that the woman was not traveling at excessive speeds when she ran the red light at Blosser Road and Battle Road in Santa Maria.

CHP said she more than likely did not see the bus before the crash.

CHP said they typically will not issue citations unless they determine gross negligence on the part of the driver.


Multiple injuries were sustained during a traffic collision involving a school bus near the intersection of Blosser Road and Battle Road in Santa Maria Monday morning.

According to the California Highway Patrol, at around 8:30 a.m. a Kia SUV was traveling northbound on Blosser Road when it was struck by a fully loaded school bus that was traveling westbound on Battles Road.

The SUV was then pushed into four vehicles that were at a stop on Blosser Road.

Craig Carrier with CHP said that one of the vehicles ran a red light, but it had not yet been determined which party was responsible.

“I saw people pacing pretty fast this way so I figured it was a car accident,” witness and mother Stacy Ortiz said. “Noticed that there were kids in the bus, which was scary.”

56 kids were on the bus.

“I have kids of my own and every time my kids go on a field trip that’s the first thing that comes to my mind: ‘What if the bus was to get in to a car accident or something?,’ you know,” Ortiz said.

Six vehicles in total were involved in the crash. Three students in the bus suffered minor to moderate injuries and were transported to Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria.

“The injuries that were reported to us were a bump on the knee, a sore neck and a laceration on the forehead,” Maggie White from the Santa Maria Bonita School District said.

Those three students have been released from the hospital.

“The bus company that provides our school bussing is Student Transportation of America and they own the buses and they also employ the bus drivers,” White said.

The bus driver and the bus driver’s aid were checked out for minor injuries at a local hospital. The driver of the Kia did not sustain any major injuries.

CHP says it’s important for drivers to be patient and remember that a yellow light is an indication to slow down and not speed up.

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