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Driver involved in bus rollover crash arrested for suspected DUI

Update [1/18/2019 2:45 p.m.]

The driver of an Amtrak passenger bus that went off the roadway leaving six people with injuries has been arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The bus was traveling south on US-101 when it drifted off the roadway near Alisos Canyon Road going about 55 mph.

The bus then continued onto the gravel shoulder of the highway eventually hitting a tree before rolling down a dirt culvert and flipping on its side.

Six passengers were taken to a local hospital for minor injuries.

The driver, 50-year-old Laura Mae Gish was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, according to CHP.

The Santa Maria Area CHP Office is conducting the investigation into the crash.



Amtrak passengers riding a bus bound for the Santa Barbara train station escaped serious injury Friday morning after the bus drove off the side of Highway 101 in northern Santa Barbara County and plunged down into a ravine.

The crash happened at about 5:45 a.m. in the southbound lanes about four miles south of Los Alamos, most of the estimated 24 passengers on the bus were asleep at the time.

“I woke up just as we, I felt the side of the road and the impact of the tires hitting the curb and then we were just going off the side”, said passenger Tim Ball.

“All I remember is going down the hill and waking up at the bottom”, added passenger Reese Whitehead, “I kicked open the roof emergency exit and then crawled out and made my way up the hill.”

Only a handful of passengers were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals with minor injuries, including small cuts, bruises, and complaints of pain, the rest were cared for at the scene of the crash.

The bus driver was not injured.

After the drifting off the highway, the bus sliced off a large oak tree branch and continued down a soft, thick and wet grass embankment where it came to rest in the ravine and turned over on its right side.

“The driver is very lucky she didn’t go head on with the tree, that could have been really bad”, said CHP Officer David Medina, “the other passengers were shaken up, but they’re in good spirits.”

After a couple hours on the side of the highway, the passengers were loaded onto another bus to continue their journey to Santa Barbara for an Amtrak train to Los Angeles or San Diego.

Passenger Daniel Carman began his journey in San Francisco.

“I’m definitely shaken up”, Carman said after the crash.

A large tow truck slowly pulled the coach out of the ravine and put it back up on its wheels later in the morning where the extent of damage to the front of the bus could be clearly seen.

The CHP’s investigation into the bus crash will include possible mechanical failure, driver fatigue or impairment.


An Amtrak bus has reportedly overturned in Los Alamos Friday morning leaving seven people with minor injuries.

According to a log on the California Highway Patrol’s, the crash was reported just before 5:45 a.m. on Highway 101 near the 154 Freeway after it went off the road and overturned.

Twenty-four passengers from the Davis-area were traveling to the train station in Santa Barbara. Six people were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

The remainder of the passengers were cared for on scene.

It is unclear what caused the accident.

Heavy fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash.

A second bus will now transport the remainder of passengers to their destination.

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