A party bus ride shuttling concertgoers home to Santa Cruz turned tragic late Friday night when two women got into a drunken brawl while the bus was traveling over 45 mph along Highway 17 near Los Gatos. 25-year-old Natasha Noland and another unidentified 20-year-old woman were both thrown from the bus when the doors accidentally opened, sending the pair tumbling out on to southbound Highway 17. Noland was reportedly struck and killed by the bus. The other woman suffered road rash.
Another family from Watsonville who were also making their way home from the same Brad Paisley concert at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, came upon Noland's boyfriend standing next to her by the highway, flagging down cars for help. According to the San Jose Mercury news, about 12-15 other passengers, some below the legal drinking age, fled the scene of the accident. Three men were found hiding in the bushes near the highway. Noland's distraught boyfriend reportedly punched out the window of a police car.
Noland, who worked at her parents' Pacific Wave Surf Shop in Santa Cruz, was described as a "super fun person" who loved country music and fashion. She was scheduled to attend San Jose State to study communications in the Fall.
Party Bus of Santa Cruz, the company operating the sloshy shuttle, is currently under investigation by CHP. According to one patrolman, all of the passengers were "highly intoxicated" and uncooperative. The driver has not been identified.
KTVU has the video report from Friday night's accident.
The accident is the latest death to occur during a ride on a drunken party bus in the Bay Area. In 2010, a 19-year-old San Mateo teen died while trying to drive home after celebrating a friend's 21st birthday on a party bus. That incident prompted state legislators to consider a ban on alcohol and more strict measures to prevent underage drinking aboard the rolling parties.