The San Francisco Police Department this morning announced their findings in the case of the tour bus that this past November careened wildly out of control and crashed into the Apple store. Despite initial claims by the driver that brake failure was to blame, the SFPD this morning reported that their four-month investigation showed that operator error was at fault. The November 13 crash left twenty people injured, four of them critically.
"We've concluded after thorough investigation that it was operator error," explained a SFPD spokeswoman at this morning's press conference. The driver "likely panicked after he hit the cyclist," she noted. An officer with the California Highway Patrol furthered that all the brakes, and the steering wheel, were in working condition at the time of the crash, and that routine maintenance required by law had been carried out on the bus this despite an earlier CHP report citing multiple mechanical problems on City Sightseeing buses.
Sergeant Kevin Edison with the SFPD told reporters gathered that "the driver believed that he had stepped on the brake, attempting to stop the motor coach," however "we believe he apparently stepped on the wrong pedal." There was no evidence that brakes had ever been applied.
The driver, 52-year-old Kenneth Malvar, had been driving with City Sightseeing for 10 years before the accident. According to Sergeant Edison, Malvar had been behind the wheel for another crash involving a bus in the past — although he refused to provide details.
The findings announced today, of course, are in stark contrast to initial claims made by Malvar that mechanical failure caused the crash. "The gas pedal had no effect, the brake pedal had no effect, the emergency brake had no effect," explained Malvar's attorney Robert Cartwright immediately following the crash. “He tried shifting the transmission and to turn the bus off — none of these things had any effect whatsoever.”
According to the SFPD, Malvar was this morning officially cited for driving at unsafe speeds. Police say that the bus was averaging speeds of 45 mph as it ran out of control through the city. Malvar will not serve jail time.