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Arrest warrant filed for driver in fatal bus crash

Manslaughter charges expected.

Posted: March 21, 2008 9:58 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed an arrest warrant Thursday for a bus driver involved in a fatal crash in Stevenson Ranch earlier this year.

David Juliano Delape, 49, of Rosamond, was driving a Santa Clarita Transit bus on Jan. 18 when the bus collided with a passenger vehicle at the intersection of The Old Road and Constitution Avenue. Janine Doughlin, 25, the driver of the car, died at the scene. Several children riding in the bus were slightly injured.

The California Highway Patrol's investigation into the incident, which was completed Feb. 21, determined that the bus driver may possibly be criminally liable and recommended felony charges against him. At that time the case was handed over to the D.A., who requested additional information and spent several weeks reviewing the file.

According to Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the D.A.'s office, the decision was made to file misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against Delape. The complaint did not reveal any details of the investigation except that the alleged crime did not amount to a felony, and gross negligence was not involved.

Gibbons said that Delape will receive a letter in the mail with details of when and where to appear in court. He won't actually be arrested unless he fails to appear on the date in question, which has yet been determined.

Delape was recently terminated from Veolia Transportation, the Illinois-based company that operates Santa Clarita's buses. Kelly Smith, director of communications for Veolia, confirmed that the firing was linked to the fact that charges have been filed against Delape.

Smith emphasized that despite the Jan. 18 incident, both Delape and the company have an excellent safety record.

"His files were clean," she said. "There was nothing to indicate that he was an unsafe driver. Safety is an important aspect of the job and we take that very seriously at Veolia.

"The accident was a terrible tragedy for everyone involved," Smith continued. "Our hearts and prayers are with them now."

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