Investigators believe worn tires contributed to crash | SteamboatToday.com

Investigators believe worn tires contributed to crash

— The driver of a Ford Explorer that hit a Steamboat Springs Transit regional bus Tuesday evening on U.S. Highway 40 has been admitted to Yampa Valley Medical Center and was listed in fair condition Wednesday.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott, the crash investigator, said Wednesday inadequate tires on the Explorer contributed to the crash.

“Three of the four were completely smooth,” Elliott said.

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.

Elliott said after the collision, the bus went off the road and hit the hillside, sending the 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.

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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, and she tried to steer the bus to avoid the collision.

Elliott said it was too early to say whether Ziskind would be ticketed. Neither drugs or alcohol are suspected as contributing to the crash.

Ziskind’s dog was in the car and died.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to pry open parts of the Explorer and extract Ziskind. He suffered serious injuries.

Eight on-duty Steamboat firefighters responded to the crash, along with five off-duty firefighters.

The crash was at the exact location where 22-year-old Jenna Erickson died in a February 2011 accident. Investigators think that crash was caused by Erickson texting while driving.

Interim City Manager Gary Suiter said the loss of the bus involved in Wednesday’s crash would not impact regional bus service between Craig and Steamboat.

"Our thoughts are with those injured in the accident and we wish everyone a quick recovery," Suiter said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland