• Inspections show bus involved in fatal crash had no major mechanical problems

    By: David Ham


    KIRKLAND, Wash. - Sound Transit released maintenance records for the Community Transit bus that crashed into an SUV and killed two people on Monday.

    The records show that there were seven minor defects found with the bus that included an oil leak when it went for a routine inspection on May 1. All the minor defects were fixed before the crash.

    The driver told state troopers his brakes failed.

    "The most recent preventative maintenance on this bus, everything checked out, the brakes checked out and there was some minor regular routine maintenance that was, so we're not going to know until the state police finish their investigation," said Bruce Gray.

    KIRO 7 Eyewitness News also looked through all of the maintenance records since the bus went into service in 2008.

    In April 2011, the bus was taken out of service when the parking brake failed. But there have been no major braking issues since.

    KIRO 7 spoke to instructors at Commercial Driver School in Lakewood who said air brakes like the ones used in the Community Transit bus have fail safes to make sure that a bus can come to a stop when needed.

    "It would have automatically done it and the brakes would have locked and stopped the bus," said Pam Paulin of Commercial Driver School. She was a commercial bus driver for 18 years.

    We asked Sound Transit if the driver, Aleksandr Rukhlin, would have known how to use the emergency brake.

    "I can't really speak to that. I don’t know if it's a specific training to go through," said Bruce Gray of Sound Transit.

    He also did not speculate if the driver was at fault in any way in this crash.

    Gray said that Community Transit drivers must complete at least 172 hours of training in and outside the classroom before they start.

    Troopers don't think drugs or alcohol were factors in this investigation.

    Washington State Patrol estimated it will take two weeks to get a search warrant, which is required by state law, to get a look at the inside of the bus.

    Troopers estimated the whole investigation will take up to six months to wrap up.

    Rukhlin wouldn't talk about the crash when KIRO 7 went to his house on Wednesday.

    Family members said they will release a statement at a later time, but would not go into any other detail.

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