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December 19, 2014

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Did I make it to the liquor store?’:

Police ID driver in bus-stop crash that killed 4

Image

Steve Marcus

Metro Police investigate after a car crashed into a bus stop on Spring Mountain Road east of Decatur Boulevard, killing four people, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Photo is looking west on Spring Mountain Road toward Decatur Boulevard.

Updated Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 | 10:50 a.m.

Gary Lee Hosey Jr.

Gary Lee Hosey Jr.

Bus Stop Crash Memorial

An evidence marker Launch slideshow »

Fatal Bus Stop Accident

Metro Police investigate after a car crashed into a bus stop on Spring Mountain Road east of Decatur Boulevard, killing four people, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Bus stop crash

KSNV Channel 3 coverage of a fatal crash at a bus stop on Spring Mountain Road.

Click to enlarge photo

Metro Police investigate after a car crashed into a bus stop on Spring Mountain Road east of Decatur Boulevard, killing four people, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012.

The graveyard shift bartender at the Crown & Anchor heard a mighty crash and ran outside to find scattered body parts, a demolished vehicle and four dead people.

The bus stop outside on Spring Mountain Road east of Decatur Boulevard was demolished by a Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The scene was horrific.

Not everyone was dead, though. And as rescue crews worked to free the driver from the wrecked car, he asked loud enough to be heard by the bartender:

“Did I make it to the liquor store?”

Metro Police officials identified Las Vegan Gary Lee Hosey Jr., 24, as the vehicle's driver. He had four passengers at the time: Las Vegas residents Akililu Atanaw, 24, Maarig Tewolde, 26, and Wendim Fisenar, 31, and San Diego resident Tamesgen Adam, 22.

Ashley Cascante, the tavern’s day-shift bartender, said the bartender, whose name she did not release, told her that every time he blinked he saw those bodies. She also said he reported the accident to police.

An employee of the Jack in the Box, which is down the block from the Crown & Anchor, said he thought he heard a bomb detonate when the accident occurred. He saw four bodies on the sidewalk by the Carl’s Jr. restaurant with blood all along the street, sidewalk and a light pole. The Monte Carlo had “taken down” the whole bus stop, he said.

Late Thursday morning, the bodies of four people lay where they died, covered by bright white sheets. The bus stop, which amounted to a long seat and a backboard with a roof, was hard to make out, either obliterated or taken away.

Dawna Duncombe, who has lived a few blocks from the bus stop for several years, said Spring Mountain Road had “become a race track, I hear people racing down the road so much.”

“I’m always thinking, ‘Where are the cops?’ you know?” she said. “This used to be a really nice area.”

Thursday morning it became the latest site of a deadly vehicle-pedestrian accident.

Police have said they suspect Hosey was drunk and speeding — unsubstantiated reports from county sources say the vehicle may have been going 100 mph — when his vehicle went airborne and hit the bus stop, killing four people and injuring eight. All four of the deceased were believed to have been people waiting at the bus stop, Metro spokesman Marcus Martin said just after noon.

“We actually had a police officer who was fueling up at the 7-Eleven at the corner," said Metro Sgt. Richard Strader. "He saw the vehicle go through the intersection, basically bottomed out and then caught air it was going so fast.”

The tragedy occurred about 6:25 a.m., just one minute before the scheduled arrival of Bus 203, which traverses a route along Spring Mountain, Desert Inn Road and Lamb Boulevard 25 times a day.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, authorities had identified the three pedestrians, all Las Vegans, who were injured in the accident, but are withholding the names of those who died until their families have been notified.

Zakiya Corner, 29, was taken to Sunrise Hospital in critical condition, while Zexiang Wang was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. Billy Joel Ramirez-Fuentes, 31, is at Sunrise with minor injuries.

"This is probably the biggest with the most fatalities I've seen in a long time," said Gregg Fusto, director of trauma and burn services at UMC.

The accident happened about a half hour before the hospital's 7 a.m. shift change, meaning there were more hands on deck to accommodate what Fusto called a mass-casualty incident.

"We probably had 30 personnel, so we just held them in our unit," he said.

Metro Police spokesman Tom Clevenger said the vehicle was headed east on Spring Mountain Road when it lost control, ran onto the sidewalk and hit the bus stop. There were four people in the car, he said.

Strader said several passengers had to be extricated from the vehicle.

Atanaw was transported to Sunrise Hospital in critical condition with Hosey, who is in serious condition. Adam was transported to University Medical Center in critical condition, while Fisenar and Tewolde were transported to UMC in serious condition.

Hosey has a collapsed lung and possibly a broken back, authorities said. Emergency responders said they smelled alcohol on his breath.

Hosey has been charged with four felony counts of driving under the influence causing death, Metro Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said. More charges could be added during the course of the investigation, she said.

Hosey, who at midafternoon was still at the hospital, was booked in absentia and will be transported to the Clark County Detention Center as soon as he is medically cleared, Meltzer said.

Streets surrounding the accident scene were reopened at 7 p.m., police said.

Sun reporters Cristina Chang, Conor Shine, Jackie Valley, Brian Nordli and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  1. Horrific. How hard is it to design some type of barrier for bus stops? Something must be done and quickly.

  2. With respect to those affected by this tragedy, nothing "must be done." You simply cannot have a contingency for every situation.

  3. This morning's fatal bus stop crash was my greatest fear when I first moved to town and relied heavily on public transportation. Las Vegas has the skinniest sidewalks I've ever experienced in a metropolitan city, and the bus stops are a complete joke - both were obvious after-thoughts of planning and design. No two pedestrians can walk past each other on the majority of Vegas sidewalks without one having to make room and accommodate the other. Bicyclists often ride on the pavement, because there isn't any dedicated and level bicycle lanes on the roads, so that creates a dosey doe effect as well, not to mention if someone is using a wheel chair or electric scooter to get around. Then there's the issue of little room between waiting bus riders and the roadway. Sit down on a bus stop bench, stretch your legs and it seems your toes could easily could touch the black tar roadway. The default speed limit of 45 mph in Las Vegas is hazardous in it's self, especially considering drivers often accelerate to between 55 and 60 mph in those zones. Now, take all these factors, mix them up with drugs or alcohol, and you have a situation like today's deadly bus crash. When will the powers that be get off the dime and make Southern Nevada's roads and sidewalks safe for all who use them? Does the number of yearly roadway deaths of pedestrians need to hit 100 before our city and county agencies make some dramatic improvements? If the pedestrians killed on our streets were shot with handguns, it would be considered an epidemic. People of Clark County, it is time to stand up and have our government officials fix this ever growing issue roadway fatalities.

  4. No where does it say the driver ran a redlight, he/she lost control of the vehicle. No where does it say alcohol is involved either. Until more information is available, we don't know what actually happened. Could have been a medical issue, or most likely, someone again going too fast. Four people were in the car - good chance they were going to work.

    @VegasNative:
    Many cities that have red light cameras have unions. One of the biggest cities in the country is pro-union; it has red light cameras and the cameras have been very successful. Your argument doesn't hold water.

  5. Correction. I apologize for the mention of no alcohol was involved.

  6. Move the bus stops from the far side of the intersection to the near side, that would prevent some of these incidents. Yes, that would mean drivers might have to wait for a bus to move before making a right turn, but it reduce the odds of the bus stop being struck by intersection collisions.

  7. boftx,

    This bus stop is located on the near side as you have requested. The car that hit it left the road long before the stop light. This one is also in an area of wide sidewalks and back from the street.

    Concrete filled steel posts would slow some of these cars down from hitting bus stops but don't know that it is going to stop them.

  8. vegaslee,

    Thanks, I couldn't quite tell in this case. I know that in several others over the past few years bus stop location, and the fact that there are often walls behind them, have been contributing factors.

    I don't think this can ever be eliminated, but it can be reduced.

  9. 'Horrific. How hard is it to design some type of barrier for bus stops? Something must be done and quickly.......'

    Lolli collumns, are about 4 or 5 feet high and filled with cement. You often see them in front of electrical outlets on buildings that are near parking, or in front of buildings with very close parking lots, think gas stations. This would be a great idea, but the cost to do this to every bus stop will be high. I think it might be a better idea to move the bus stops back from the road 10 to 15 feet, and put in lolli collumns.

  10. It is truly amazing to see the recidivism. Alcoholism and addiction certainly play a part. When these people are given another chance and/or released from incarceration, they offend again. We keep paying the price over and over again, with our lives, our safety, our wealth--in that we pay for the law enforcement and court costs as these repeat offenders just keep doing whatever they want without concern for anyone else.

  11. Those poor people. God bless them.

    I think it's time to put up posts at the bus stops to help stop an out of control vehicle/driver.

    @Det Munch- you might have missed it but they do suspect the driver habing been drunk.

    Metro's fatal accident team is very good and they'll have a full report including computer simulations of the accident in a few weeks.

  12. Concrete bollards (3+' tall yellow poles you see all over the valley)....the same thing that is used to protect above ground fuel storage tanks, fire hydrants and electrical transformers can be placed at 3-4 foot intervals around the bus stop areas. These are quite adequate for stopping vehicles. And whichever bar/lounge that allowed him to get to this state of intoxication needs to be held financially liable.

  13. it was a car full of bad news. we could make all the laws and barriers we want, these guys will still be on the other side, scraping at the door.

  14. Bollards don't have the stopping power that most people think they do. (People keep saying "concrete bollards" but ones made of concrete only are purely a visual deterrent, security bollards are made of steel, which may or may not be filled with concrete. The concrete fill adds weight, but does not actually improve the strength or stopping power)

    Do a Google search and check out the spec sheets from the companies that make and install them. The highest rated I've been able to find so far tops out at a 45-55 mph impact....and that's ONLY if they are close enough together that there are always two bollards sharing the impact.

    Bottom line is that in this situation, based on the information that has been released so far, having barriers in place would *NOT* have saved the pedestrians at the bus stop.