The driver of an SUV struck by a Sound Transit bus Monday evening told dispatchers in a newly released 911 call that his father was dead in the back seat and his mother was in “pretty bad shape.”
Elizabeth Rotta, 75, and Robert Rotta, 76, died when possible mechanical failure caused the bus to speed out of control and hit the vehicle on an Interstate 405 overpass near Kirkland.
“He’s pinned in there, he’s not breathing and they say no pulse,” 51-year-old Kendall Rotta told a dispatcher about his father. “I don’t know if I’m going to survive here much longer. I’m starting to faint.”
Witnesses also called 911 to report the collision.
One man said he watched the bus slam into the SUV and keep going.
“So, you don’t see the bus at all?” a dispatcher asked the man.
“No. The bus flew by me going like 55 to 60 miles per hour coming off the freeway, going back on the freeway,” the witness said. “I was supposed to get on that bus. I’ve been waiting for like an hour for that bus and it just flew out of control.”
The driver of the bus claimed brake failure. He came to a stop a half-mile from the scene, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Julie Judson.
“He kept going!” a frantic witness told 911. “The bus took off. Guy took off and I’m looking down the freeway right now and I don’t see him.”
The accident is the first fatal collision involving a Sound Transit bus, a spokesperson for the agency said.
The bus will undergo a full inspection to determine if mechanical problems are to blame.