Driver who crashed into regional transit bus in March was uninsured | SteamboatToday.com

Driver who crashed into regional transit bus in March was uninsured

Driver who crashed into regional transit bus in March was uninsured

Scott Franz

Four passengers and the bus driver were treated for injuries after the March 29 head-on crash with a Ford Explorer.

— The driver who crashed his Ford Explorer head-on into one of the city’s regional transit buses in March during a snowstorm has created a financial headache for the city.

Interim City Manager Gary Suiter informed the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday the driver, who was reportedly operating his vehicle with three bald tires during the crash that injured several people, also did not have insurance at the time of the accident.

The city is now facing the expensive task of replacing the bus after it was deemed a total loss.

Several council members let out a collective sigh when they heard the driver of the Explorer was uninsured during the March 29 crash.

Suiter said the city’s insurance deductible is $50,000, and the value of the totaled bus is much less than the cost of a replacement.

“We’re going to be upside down on this,” Suiter said.

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Suiter said he did not yet have a figure on how much the crash would cost in total, adding the city is still negotiating the value of the bus with its insurance carrier.

He did predict the crash’s financial impact on the city will likely be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the cost of the bus replacement.

He added the driver was cited for not having insurance.

The city currently is test driving a used demo of the same model of bus that was lost in the crash.

Suiter said the base price tag on the bus is $444,000, but the cost could be significantly reduced if the city can obtain a federal grant.

Harrison Ziskind, 29, of Steamboat, was driving his Explorer east on U.S. 40 about one mile west of city limits when he lost control while going around a curve on snowy and slushy roads about 6 p.m. The Explorer veered into oncoming traffic and hit the bus head-on.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said that, following the collision, the bus went off the road and struck the hillside, sending passengers crashing into seats and other objects on the bus. The passengers did not have seatbelts.

Four of the eight passengers were taken to YVMC with minor and moderate injuries. One was kept at YVMC overnight.

The bus driver, Joy Bachem, 52, of Hayden, was wearing a seatbelt and was treated and released from YVMC with minor injuries.

Elliott said the crash was in no way Bachem's fault, adding she tried to steer the bus to avoid the collision.

Asked if the bus passengers were paying their own medical expenses, Suiter said he could not comment at this time.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10