Gambling Bus Collides With Van; Two Dead, 41 Hurt
Aug. 28, 1995
BLACK HAWK, Colo. (AP) _ A bus carrying dozens of gamblers to a Colorado casino collided head-on with a van and plunged into a creek Sunday, killing two passengers. At least 41 people were injured.
The bus was heading northwest on two-lane Colorado 119 when the van tried to pass a vehicle in the opposite lane and crossed over.
An open whiskey bottle, several beer cans and drug paraphernalia were found in the van, said Sgt. Tony Padilla of the Colorado State Patrol. The van driver, hospitalized in critical condition, admitted he had been drinking and using drugs, Padilla said.
The collision sent the bus veering off the road and into Clear Creek, where it landed on its side on a stretch of dry creek bed.
At least two people trapped under a boulder were screaming for help, said Jennifer Manley, a nurse who stopped at the accident site about 35 miles northwest of Denver.
``I was trying every little thing I could do with no equipment to assess to see what injuries people had,'' she said. ``Everyone was covered with blood.''
Passers-by formed a human chain and passed the bus passengers up the embankment to medical personnel on the roadside.
The dead were two women who were among the 42 people on the bus.
The van driver, William J. Lucero, 36, was alone in the van except for a dog. It was unclear whether the dog survived.
Charges of drunken driving, vehicular homicide and vehicular assault were pending against Lucero, Padilla said.
Of the 41 people injured, six were in critical condition, four were in serious condition and anther 20 were in fair or good condition. Eleven were treated and released. The bus driver Kalen Schlotterbeck, 57, was in fair condition.
The Casino Transportation Inc. shuttle bus was carrying gamblers from Golden to Black Hawk and Central City, two of three Colorado communities where limited-stakes gambling is allowed. The other is Cripple Creek.
Mary Ellen Floy, 54, said the bus rolled twice and she was ejected through a window.
Staggering about in shock, ``I just kept saying the Lord's Prayer over and over. I just thank God I'm alive.''