Driver charged with DUI in California bus crash that killed 8

Sacramento BeeOctober 6, 2008 

WILLIAMS, Calif. — The driver of a bus that crashed Sunday, killing eight people and injuring dozens more, was driving under the influence, the California Highway Patrol said.

Quienten Joey Watts, 52, of Stockton, is in critical condition in Woodland Memorial Hospital, one of 35 people authorities say were hurt in the crash of a bus that was traveling from Sacramento to the Colusa Casino, a gaming establishment in rural Colusa County, near Williams.

Watts was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, said CHP Sgt. Brian Donnelly. It is unclear whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he said.

He will be jailed upon his release from the hospital, he said.

Watts was arrested based on observations a witness made before the crash, Donnelly said.

"He was driving erratically," he said. "The bus basically veered off the road for no reason."

Watts' driver's license is valid, but the paperwork on the bus is not, Donnelly said.

An investigation into the bus, owned by Daniel E. Cobb Sr., 68, of Sacramento, continues today, he said.

CHP Special Officer Robert B. Kays said at the crash scene early today that the bus had Texas license plates and had an invalid registration. The muddled registration information impeded the CHP in determining the bus' owner before Cobb was identified.

The crash occurred at 6:10 p.m. on Lone Star Road , a two-lane road fronted by a water-filled ditch. The road is a popular shortcut for motorists headed to the casino, and the crash site is about six miles from Williams and four miles from Colusa.

"This is a bad scene," Colusa County Sheriff Scott Marshall said after arriving at the crash site Sunday night, where dozens of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles had gathered.

Officials said the bus drove into the ditch, flipped over and ended up facing south on its wheels.

Read the full story at sacbee.com.

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