FRESNO — The toppled SUV that sparked a deadly Greyhound bus crash on July 22, killing six people in central Fresno, contained a crushed metal flask still smelling of alcohol.
The flask was among new details that emerged in a California Highway Patrol’s affidavit that became public on Thursday. The Aug. 26 affidavit is prompting investigators to seek out who provided alcohol to the 18-year-old driver of the Chevy TrailBlazer.
The SUV’s driver, Sylvia Garay of Dinuba, was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident that threw her from the vehicle and left it on its side blocking the highway, according to the documents. Her two passengers, Stephanie Cordoba, 20, and Vanessa Gonzalez, 19, were also killed in the subsequent wreck that occurred on the right lane of Highway 99.
Highway Patrolman Axel Reyes said the SUV was stopped in the middle of the highway when the bus carrying 32 people smashed into it that July night.
Three people on the bus died in the collision: passengers Tomas Ponce, 79, of Winton and Epifania Solis, 60, of Madera, as well as the driver of the bus, James Jewett, 57, of Sacramento.
In the affidavit, CHP Officer J.A Watson wrote that Garay “made a series of unsafe turning movements” as she traveled on the north right lane.
Watson wrote in the affidavit that he “observed the stale odor of alcohol” coming from Garay’s body.
He also confirmed in the report that Garay and her two friends were attending a friend’s birthday party at the Starline nightclub in Fresno’s Tower District, which is located in south Fresno.
David Hadden of the Fresno County Coroner’s Office stated that Garay had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11, which is more than the legal driving limit of 0.08. Cordoba also had alcohol in her system, listed at 0.05. Hadden stated that Gonzalez was the only one who hadn’t consumed alcohol.
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