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UC Davis Shuttle Bus in Accident

By Kat Kerlin on November 30, 2006 in

Editors: This 1:45 p.m. update adds information throughout.

A UC Davis shuttle bus carrying passengers from the Davis campus to the Medical Center Sacramento campus overturned this morning (Thursday, Nov. 30) on U.S. Highway 50 in West Sacramento.

No major injuries were reported. Of the 26 people on board, 20 -- including the driver -- were treated at three Sacramento hospitals for minor and moderate injuries, such as bruises and possible neck sprains, according to police, fire, ambulance and hospital officials. One person reportedly refused treatment for minor injuries and five were not hurt.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident, which occurred at 8:44 a.m. on eastbound Highway 50, just east of the Jefferson Boulevard overpass. It shut down eastbound Highway 50 for more than three hours.

CHP officials said the only vehicle involved was the shuttle bus, which was traveling 60 to 65 miles per hour when it slammed into a guardrail in the center median and rolled onto its side. The bus tore away 150 feet of guardrail before it came to a stop.

UC Davis Health System officials identified the bus driver as Marcella Muhammad, 46, who has more than five years of experience as a bus driver and has driven for UC Davis since 2002.

"I was so sorry to learn of this morning's bus accident, certainly a traumatic experience for members of our UC Davis family headed to our medical campus in Sacramento," said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. "I'm grateful that early reports indicate injuries were not serious, and that our emergency medical and counseling staff are always ready to provide expert and responsive care. I also appreciate that emergency personnel were on scene so quickly to assist the passengers and have worked so diligently in response to the accident."

Claire Pomeroy, UC Davis vice chancellor and dean of the School of Medicine, said, "Our thoughts are with all the people -- our colleagues, students and friends -- who were on that shuttle bus. UC Davis Health System is a close-knit family, and incidents such as this one touch us all very deeply. I join our chancellor in gratitude to all those who responded to this emergency, from the first responders on the scene to our own UC Davis staff and to emergency department staff at other area hospitals."

The UC Davis / UC Davis Medical Center shuttle is a 10-year-old service for persons affiliated with the University of California, including faculty members, staff, students, interns, volunteers, patients and hospital visitors.

The bus involved in today's accident is a 2006 Gillig Phantom model. It started operating at UC Davis on June 14, 2006, and received routine service and preventive maintenance on Nov. 14.

The bus has a capacity of 43 passengers. It is one of two buses assigned to the intercampus shuttle service, which provides 15 round trips a day, from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. An average of 350 passengers ride the shuttle daily.

Shuttle service is continuing today.

Media contact(s)

Kat Kerlin, Research news (emphasis on environmental sciences), 530-752-7704,

David Ong, UC Davis Health System, (916) 734-9049,