The driver involved in Friday's harrowing, potentially deadly tour bus crash in Union Square has spoken out for the first time through his attorney, and we now have his name: He is 52-year-old Kenneth Malvar, and he's been driving for City Sightseeing for 10 years. Malvar spoke from his hospital bed Tuesday, via attorney Robert Cartwright speaking to the Associated Press we learn some more details about the apparent mechanical failure that caused the bus to careen out of control and collide with scaffolding at the Apple store construction site.
Says Cartwright, Malvar heard an "explosion" under the bus, after which he felt it accelerate, though the gas pedal felt "floppy" and the brakes stopped working. "The gas pedal had no effect, the brake pedal had no effect, the emergency brake had no effect, said Cartwright. “He tried shifting the transmission and to turn the bus off none of these things had any effect whatsoever.”
CBS 5 reports that the sound of the explosion was preceded by a spike in the bus's air pressure gauge, though that went back to normal.
As the Chronicle reports, Cartwright alluded to a possible lawsuit against the bus manufacture, Orion, saying, "They need to have a redundant safety system on the bus that would stop it, and they didn’t."
According to Cartwright, Malvar did everything he could to try to slow the bus, including clipping several construction containers along the way, and finally decided to turn into the scaffolding. "He tried everything," Cartwright said. "He was powerless to stop the bus."
His decision may have saved lives, but the entire incident severely injured five people, himself included. He remains hospitalized with broken ribs and a broken ankle.
The condition of the other victims, including a badly injured cyclist who was one of the first casualties, is unknown.
As reported yesterday, the tour bus company, City Sightseeing, also appears to be at fault, having failed to get a proper permit and inspection for the bus from the state. The company claims it had done its own inspection of the bus a couple of weeks earlier, on October 25.