QUINCY, Grant County — A tour bus operator died Friday after the vehicle he was operating rear-ended a school bus that was disabled in the westbound lane of Road 5-Northwest in Quincy, Grant County.
Shortly after 9 a.m., a Quincy School District bus was carrying 26 students between the ages of 5 and 15 on their way to school after a two-hour late start. The bus was stopped in the roadway picking up a student when it was rear-ended by a Jeep.
While the Jeep’s driver, Jocelyn Gutierrez, 19, of East Wenatchee, pulled her car off the road, the bus remained in the roadway. The bus was then rear-ended again, this time by an Alpha Omega tour bus driven by Sidney Austin, 71, of Spokane. Austin was pronounced dead at the scene.
All 26 students and the school bus driver were taken to Quincy Valley Medical Center for evaluation, though they sustained either no injuries or non-life-threatening injuries, according to law enforcement.
There were 39 passengers, one tour guide and the driver, Austin, on the tour bus. They also were taken to Quincy Valley Medical Center and were temporarily sheltered in the hospital’s convalescent wing. None sustained life-threatening injuries.
Gutierrez sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Neither alcohol nor drugs appears to have contributed to this collision, but dense fog was a factor, according to law enforcement. All drivers were wearing seatbelts. The exact cause of Austin’s death has not been determined, and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
The incident remains under investigation by the Grant County Sheriff’s Motor Traffic Unit and the Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, which law enforcement noted is normal procedure for collisions involving commercial vehicles such as school buses and tour buses.