Video, details of Janesville bus crash revealed

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Frank Schultz
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

JANESVILLE—Video recordings from the city bus that smashed into a house Aug. 6 show an SUV crashing into the bus, the bus driver falling from her seat and the bus hitting the house.

City Transit Director Dave Mumma said the city investigated and turned its findings over to its insurance company.

“Based on what we've seen to this point, we don't believe there was any type of action or omission by our driver that was a direct cause of the accident,” Mumma said. “The police report supports that. …

“Obviously, under the circumstances, she didn't have the ability to control the vehicle,” Mumma added.

Bus driver Dinah Rhodes, 69, fell from her driver's seat when her seat belt buckle failed.

Mumma sent The Gazette a photo of the malfunctioning belt, which shows the metal tongue that fits into the buckle had broken in two.

“There was no visible evidence of previous cracking or bending of this piece,” Mumma wrote in an email. “The manufacturer is also investigating why this particular unit, which is a replacement of the original seat belt in this bus, failed in service.”

One of two passengers on the bus rushed to Rhodes' aid after the bus stopped, the video shows.

“Somebody call 911!” a passenger can be heard shouting on the recording.

Mumma said Rhodes remains on medical leave, but he expects she will return to work.

No one was at home on the side of the duplex at 2607 Wesley Ave. that was hit, although people were at home next door.

The two drivers were transported for medical care, and a male bus passenger injured his hand, an accident report indicates.

The driver of the SUV, Carol L. Fuelleman, 55, of 210 S. Pontiac Drive, Janesville, was cited for failure to yield the right of way from a yield sign.

Fuelleman suffered “no apparent injury,” according to the accident report, but she was treated and released at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.

Mumma said the bus is being repaired. He said he hadn't heard how much the repairs would cost to the house or the bus. That's in the hands of the insurance companies, he said.

Video shows Janesville bus crashing into duplex (1:18)

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