Authorities said a deadly shuttle bus crash near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Thursday was caused by a passenger vehicle that veered across the median and struck the bus, flipping it onto its side.
The crash killed 45-year-old Bryan Panzanaro of Peekskill, New York, and injured seven other people, including the driver of the BMW that collided with the shuttle bus. According to The Seattle Times, the King County Sheriff’s Office reported that Mr. Panzanaro was partially ejected from the Seattle Airport Marriott shuttle bus and his body was pulled out from under the rear of the passenger side of the bus.
Six others injured in the crash were treated at local hospitals, including the driver of the BMW and a male bus passenger who was admitted to the ICU with serious injuries. One of the injured passengers refused treatment.
The King’s County Sheriff’s Office said that the Marriott shuttle bus had seats and seatbelts for 14 passengers but it wasn’t clear if any of the eight shuttle passengers were wearing seatbelts.
According to The Seattle Times, the shuttle bus crash occurred on International Boulevard just north of 176th street at about 1 p.m. The BMW, driven by an unidentified 49-year-old woman, was traveling southbound when it crossed over the center line. The position of the vehicles indicates that the shuttle bus was headed north from the hotel to the airport when the collision occurred.
Investigators haven’t determined what caused the driver of the BMW to cross the median into oncoming traffic but said they are closely reviewing surveillance video for clues and interviewing witnesses.
When a crash results in loss of life and serious injuries, investigators generally look at a number of potential factors, including mechanical defects, defective products, or malfunctions in the vehicles; driver behaviors (fatigue/falling asleep at the wheel, drug or alcohol use, distracted driving, medical emergency): and weather conditions.
Often, when attorneys in our Products Liability section examine a vehicle accident, especially one in which the injuries seem more severe than the crash would warrant, they find a defective auto product is to blame.