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October 20, 2014

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Day after deadly crash, bus riders wonder about missing passengers

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 »

Andre Rodriguez was grateful for the day he overslept. It may have saved his life.

“I am here by the grace of God, I thought about it all day yesterday,” Rodriguez said this morning after boarding the eastbound Bus 203 that he catches at 6:26 each day from Spring Mountain and Decatur Road.

Every day except Thursday.

Rodriguez was late when he walked up to the scene where a car plowed into his usual bus stop, killing four and injuring eight.

“I had hit the snooze and woke up 20 minutes later, or I would been there,” Rodriguez said. “It was a surreal day for me all day.”

On this morning’s ride, passengers talked about passing the carnage from the crash that occurred minutes before the bus’ scheduled arrival. They wondered about the faces that were missing among those they had become used to seeing every day.

They asked about the “lady with the red hair” or “the one with the little backpack.”

“You ride the bus every day, and the same people come on. A lot I don’t know their names,” said Jody Funes, who rides the 203 to the Venetian. “You just really never think about anything like that happening.”

But Thursday morning, Funes looked out the window to see a demolished car and broken bodies.

“There were people lying in the street,” she said. “It didn’t look good.”

It might have been worse. Funes said many people who catch the bus at Decatur wait in the parking lot of the Carl’s Jr., not at the bus stop.

“That’s where I usually wait, because the bus stop is so close to traffic,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve sat on the bench and you lean forward to text or look at your phone and you can feel the traffic go by. I’ve thought before, ‘I sure hope a car doesn’t swerve up on the curb and hit me.’”

Metro police say a suspected drunk driver may have been speeding up to 100 mph as he hit a dip at the intersection, bottomed out, became airborne, landed and smashed into the bus stop.

There were many faces missing this morning. Fewer than a dozen people rode the route from Decatur to the Strip, not filling even half the seats.

No one was certain if the missing were casualties or those who merely chose to take another way.

“This bus is usually packed,” Rodriguez said. “Some people may just be scared to take the bus today. It’s my only way to work. I have no choice.”

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