Feb. 12--SANTA CRUZ -- After more than a month of investigation, a 76-year-old man whose legs were crushed by a Metro bus during a December collision was found at fault for the incident, according to a Santa Cruz police investigation.
About 1:40 p.m. on Dec. 23, near Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street, the man was in the intersection when he collided with bus. The bus stopped on top of the man's legs, damaging bones, joints and connective tissue, Santa Cruz Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.
On Tuesday, investigators released the results of the investigation on the Santa Cruz police blog as well as details that led them to conclude the pedestrian was at fault.
Though there were several witnesses to the incident, none could give the exact location of the man in the moments before he was struck, Clark said.
Investigators recreated the sequence of events that led up to the collision using statements, evidence and models, Clark said.
The investigation also showed that when the man stepped into the intersection, he was 17 feet outside the crosswalk, Clark said. The bus had established its position and had the right of way, according to Clark.
In crossing the intersection outside the crosswalk, the man violated a vehicle code section that states pedestrians should yield to all vehicles when crossing an intersection outside of a crosswalk, according to Clark.
Investigators recreated the path of the bus, driving the route with the bus and a Metro driver. Investigators determined the bus had no mechanical failures was well into its turn when it collided with the man and was moving at 5 mph at its fastest, Clark said.
The man, who is expected to survive, is still being treated in a San Jose-area hospital and will suffer long-term physical effects, Clark said.
While police found the man at fault, he will not be cited, Clark said.
Police have not named the bus driver or the pedestrian. They have not said why the pedestrian entered the intersection at that part of the road.
Metro officials are awaiting the final police report, which they expect within a week, said Liseth Guizar, a spokeswoman for Metro.
Once Metro officials receive the police report, it will be folded into an internal investigation report and forwarded to the operations manager, who will ultimately decided if the driver will return to work, Guizar said.
If approved by the manager, the driver will undergo training and retesting, which is standard for drivers who haven't driven for a certain amount of time, Guizar said.
"We're glad our bus operator was found not to be at fault for the collision but still saddened by the fact that the gentleman sustained these severe injuries and we wish him a speedy recovery," Guizar said.
The bus driver, who was placed on paid leave during the investigation, will likely return to driving within two weeks.
Follow Sentinel reporter Calvin Men at Twitter.com/calvinmenatwork
Copyright 2014 - Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.