On Sunday, February 23, 2014, at approximately 9:18 p.m., a commercial Amador Stage Lines bus, based in Sacramento, stopped in the community of Bridgeport after several passengers appeared ill. The bus had been traveling from Long Beach to the Reno, Nevada area with approximately 50-60 passengers on board. A cellular 9-1-1 call was made to the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Bishop Communications Center requesting paramedics respond to assist those passengers feeling ill.
Emergency personnel from the CHP, Mono County Sheriff’s Department, Mono County Paramedics and Bridgeport Fire Department responded to the scene. All bus occupants were moved to the Veterans Memorial Hall in Bridgeport for evaluation.
Approximately thirteen passengers were transported by three paramedic ambulances to two hospitals, eight to Mammoth Hospital, and five to Carson Valley Medical Center in Gardnerville, Nevada.
A second Amador Stage Lines bus responded to the scene to transport the remaining passengers to their destinations.
Doctor Rick Johnson, Mono County Public Health Officer, conducted a limited investigation which suggests the source of the illness may be related to carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas, entering the passenger area of the bus.
As of the time of this press release, all passengers transported to local hospitals have been treated and released. CHP officers with specific training and experience related to the inspection of commercial vehicles will conduct a detailed inspection of the bus in an attempt to determine the cause of this incident.
Lieutenant R. D. Cohan, Commander of the CHP Bridgeport Area, said, “Amador Stage Lines is both federally and state authorized to transport passengers. Records reflect their company operates 52 buses. Amador Stage Lines was last inspected by the CHP on November 14, 2013, and they have an excellent record with regard to the maintenance and the mechanical safety of their vehicles.”
“The passengers of this bus were fortunate,” said Lieutenant Cohan. “Fortunate the bus driver made a sound, professional safety decision to stop in Bridgeport and not continue north through the Walker River Canyon. All indications are conditions inside the bus would have continued to worsen, and given that carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, this could have ended tragically.”
The CHP would like to thank all its “public safety partners” for their prompt response and support: Mono County Sheriff’s Department, Mono County Paramedics, Bridgeport Fire Department and the Mono County Health Department.
If you have any questions, please contact Sergeant E. Jones, CHP Bridgeport Area, at (760) 932-7995.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, February 25, 2014, a specially trained CHP commercial vehicle officer conducted an inspection of the involved bus. The inspection revealed the weld at the exhaust elbow from the engine turbo charger failed allowing the exhaust elbow to separate. This separation allowed exhaust fumes to permeate the passenger cabin at the rear of the bus. – Press Release