Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision title=
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision
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Photo: John Palminteri / KEYT
Update by edhat staff
October 10, 2019

Authorities have released the name of the woman who died in an MTD bus accident this week. 

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has confirmed 67-year-old Eve Debra Johnson was struck and killed by an MTD bus after it drove onto the sidewalk of Figueroa Street near Chapala. 

The incident is under investigation.

MTD Santa Barbara released the following statement on Thursday:

"MTD offers our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the individuals involved.

MTD is cooperating fully with the investigation being conducted by the Santa Barbara Police Department, and due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, no additional information is available at this time."

Update by Santa Barbara Police Department
5:34 p.m., October 9, 2019

On Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 2:16 P.M. the Santa Barbara Police Department Combined Communications Center received numerous 911 calls reporting an MTD bus collision at the corner of Figueroa and Chapala Street.

Upon arrival, public safety personnel observed two victims on the ground outside of the bus. One victim was deceased while the other had suffered major injuries. Multiple passengers on the bus claimed injury.

A Santa Barbara Fire Department Incident Commander quickly assessed the scene and determined the number of potential casualties exceeded the immediately available resources. As per county protocol, he initiated an MCI or mass causality incident. That alerted region-wide public safety agencies, the hospital, and ambulance services to be prepared to deploy additional resources and apparatus if necessary. Additionally, the Police Department deployed their mobile incident command vehicle and summoned the Critical Incident Traffic Investigation Team.  Approximately 20 police officers and 20 firefighters were involved in the incident.

An unknown number of people were aboard the bus at the time of the collision.  At least two bus passengers needed to be taken to the hospital. Their injuries were categorized as moderate. Many others on the bus reported injuries but declined medical transport and left the area on their own volition after speaking to police investigators.

According to witnesses, prior to the collision the bus was traveling north on Chapala Street before making a right turn east on to Figueroa Street. For a yet-to-be-determined reason, the bus continued turning, driving up onto the sidewalk and striking two individuals before coming to rest inside a city parking lot against four vehicles.

Investigators are in the process of interviewing more than 20 witnesses, including the bus driver. The area in which the incident took place is expected to remain closed for a number of hours while investigators detail the scene.

The cause of the crash remains unknown.

Photo by an edhat reader

Reported by Roger the Scanner Guy
2:36 p.m., October 9, 2019

Incident at Figueroa and Chapala...Something happened and I missed the call posting in case others know what is up, please share.

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Beautifulcopy123 Oct 11, 2019 07:38 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Did they ever find out if the driver was under the influence? Or texting? Or even may have had a heart attack? May the victim Rest In Peace. Prayers and condolences to her love ones. Also pray for a fast recovery for the injured victims.

Crumb Oct 11, 2019 07:24 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

There were buses parked all the way to the corner on Chapala (including taking up the the right turn bay) to make that turn with a bus you would have to make that turn from the middle of the street. As you can see from the picture the only place to park the bus, (as there were buses parked int he parking lot turn lane) was in the red zone. That is where she was headed. Maybe gas instead of break, I don't know, but the city should not have allowed this type of parking at any time. There were buses parked all the way up the next block on Chapala also. The old Greyhound lot is empty and for rent, maybe a short term bus parking spot would have been the right thing to do. By the way I was in the lot about 10 yards from it. Maybe I will sleep tonight without the sight in my head...maybe not....

mauve Oct 10, 2019 04:42 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

I have been an MTD rider for a dozen years, and have never had a problem. The buses are generally safer than driving/riding in a car. That said, always hang on, and if you're older, ask a young person to let you have their seat. If you're a pedestrian crossing the street, don't stand right up on the curb--stand back a bit and always watch for wrong-way drivers and skateboards. The world is simply more crowded than it was in the past and things happen.

a-1570765655 Oct 10, 2019 08:47 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

You certainly don’t have to give up your seat to an elderly or obviously disabled rider if you need it yourself. I am a rider with an inability to stand while the bus is moving. I am also a bit old. When I get on to a crowded bus I sometimes have to ask for a seat. The driver cannot start driving until I’m seated—I am that obviously disabled. I’m sure MAUVE was suggesting that able-bodied riders pay attention and offer seats when appropriate. It’s astounding how often people do not. And then I am pleasantly surprised when someone does. I am aware that apparently able people sometimes have bad knees or whatever. But a bus full of teenagers surely has a few who can get up for a one-legged old person. It is sad to me that the person who offers a seat is often the middle-aged woman who has clearly been on her feet all day. But I digress.

a-1570760777 Oct 10, 2019 07:26 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Sorry but I have a disability that isn't visible even though I am young. I hate the assumption that because I am young, I must give up my seat to an elderly rider.

mrtrump Oct 10, 2019 10:20 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Just came back from the collision scene. There are heavy deposits of tire rubber along the outside edge of the curb, starting at the curb cut for the wheel chair ramp. The places where the tires jumped the curb are heavily marked with tire rubber. In all likely hood, the driver cut the turn too tight, hit the curb hard and lost control. MTD, the City of Santa Barbara and the County of Santa Barbara were warned years ago that the MTD 40' buses were too large for the narrow streets of downtown Santa Barbara. This is a matter of public safety, and comments related to issues of public safety should not be censored.

a-1570924712 Oct 12, 2019 04:58 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

while I dont normally agree with mrtrump, I do find myself agreeing that the buses are much too big for our downtown streets. many turns are too tight for them, causing opposing traffic to have to move out of the way or wait for them to finish the turn. I would think that more frequent, smaller buses like the trolley for the shorter, around town trips would be more practical. this bus center is also in a poorly chosen/designed location. there is nowhere for the buses to go besides a tiny, tight little loop. having them lined up all along the curbs causes issues with visibility as well as safety for pedestrians and bikers.

a-1570762665 Oct 10, 2019 07:57 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

With your expert training and experience driving buses, I guess we don't need the Police or Highway Patrol to investigate these matters..... We'll all just wait for your expert opinion anytime anything happens.

Luvaduck Oct 10, 2019 10:05 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Funny how one's background and experiences affect one's guesses about the unknown. My first thought was that the driver had either a stroke or a heart attack or some kind of seizure.

EastBeach Oct 10, 2019 09:54 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

So very tragic. I believe that's right next to the parking lot adjacent to the MTD transit center. I often see riders waiting on the Chapala and Figueroa sides of that corner especially students. On the Fig side of the corner there's a long right-turn lane into the north side of the parking lot where I've had to maneuver around a waiting bus to enter the lot.

Flicka Oct 10, 2019 09:30 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

How horribly sad to be innocently downtown and have a horrendous event take your life or cause major injuries. What a nightmare for all involved. RIP poor woman on the bus bench.

a-1570774069 Oct 10, 2019 11:07 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Just goes to show. You never know when you might meet an untimely end. Make the best of life while you can. Most heartfelt condolences to this woman and to all those who knew and loved her.

Always_Running Oct 10, 2019 06:06 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Great start to MTDs construction. All the busses loading and unloading on different street corner is already dangerous . The bus drivers expect civilian cars to wait or reverse so the busses can make their turn. (Especially Infront of the public market/ Victoria theatre- turn isn’t wide enough)

a-1570712044 Oct 10, 2019 05:54 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Independent has an interview with a shop owner who witnessed the entire incident, some graphic details are included, as well as a disturbing pic of the deceased person covered with a tarp with blood seeping out from under it... No way to know what until we have more info from the investigation but the driver has not been arrested or hospitalized so rules out dui and medical cause. Could be mechanical or just bad driving! Either way a life was lost and the other pedestrian that was hit may have had a limb severed, yikes!!

a-1570726203 Oct 10, 2019 09:50 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

I was responding to a comment that mentioned DUI, not "singling out" DUI. We have the same goal here - don't speculate when there are no facts available. That includes armchair investigators ruling out DUI. Who says they didn't perform a drug test or go to the hospital? A random comment on edhat? I would be shocked if a drug test was not performed, as there is a fatality and City-owned transit involved.

a-1570725750 Oct 10, 2019 09:42 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

SBLIFE - and another thing - how would they go about prosecuting a DUI if they did not perform any tests? No hospital means no blood was drawn, which means no drug test. No arrest means no field sobriety or breathalyzer test was failed. So yeah, pretty sure DUI is ruled out at this point.

a-1570725535 Oct 10, 2019 09:38 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

SBLIFE - because it's vulture-like in here, everyone playing investigator and claiming to know what the cause was. And yeah, DUI has not been ruled out yet, but neither has any other cause. No need to add to speculation by stating the obvious. Lots of possible causes haven't been ruled out yet, but by specifying and singling out DUI, it's doing nothing but feeding the vultures.

SBLIFE Oct 10, 2019 09:32 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

@924 no one's "hard up for a DUI". Why is it so wrong to wait for facts and point out that DUI is not, in fact, ruled out at this point?

a-1570725851 Oct 10, 2019 09:44 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

at 9:11 - when do you think they did a drug test? There on the street? No. A blood test for drug intoxication requires going to the hospital or at least the police station. They don't draw blood at the scene of a traffic accident.

a-1570723890 Oct 10, 2019 09:11 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

DUI is not ruled out until the police say so, maybe alcohol has been ruled out, but a drug test won't be done that quickly . It is not uncommon for arrests for complicated incidents to come later in the investigation, after all evidence has been gathered and the facts have settled.

JB86 Oct 10, 2019 12:52 AM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

Very weird. Sad irony that the person who died was apparently sitting on the bench at the bus stop. Like any accident, there is a root cause and I'm sure the city will define it.
Nature Boy; quite right, from the facts provided, no one can pin-point the cause.

Nature Boy Oct 09, 2019 11:34 PM
Identity Released in Fatal MTD Bus Collision

“DUI!!” “HEART ATTACK!!” “TEXTING!!” I came to hear the diagnosis by Edhat commenting experts and wasn’t disappointed. Maybe let’s wait to find out what actually happened, though.


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