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Video shows RTD bus driver nodding off just prior to running red light

Several people were hurt in the multi-vehicle crash at South Parker Road and East Orchard Road on Aug. 25.

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Video shows an RTD bus driver appearing to nod off just before he ran a red light and caused a multi-vehicle crash late last month in Centennial.

9NEWS obtained several videos of the Aug. 25 crash through an open records request.

The crash happened around 6:30 a.m. that morning in the northbound lanes of South Parker Road near Orchard Road, according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP).

It involved an RTD bus and five other vehicles. A spokesman for CSP said four people were transported to the hospital as a result of the crash. At least one of them was trapped and had to be extricated from their vehicle.

One video shows the interior of the bus as it approaches the intersection. The driver can be seen opening and closing his eyes numerous times. Just prior to the crash the driver, identified as Nathan Yitbark, opens his eyes and quickly honks the horn and appears to take evasive action in an effort to avoid the collision.

RELATED: RTD bus driver ran red light, caused multi-vehicle crash, CSP says

Yitbark, who appears to be wearing his seatbelt loosely around his waist is tossed from the driver's seat as a result of the crash. Several passengers are also thrown from their seats.

Most of them are seen picking up scattered belongings, but one passenger exits the bus and then alerts the other passengers that the bus is leaking and the rest move to exit.

A second video obtained by 9NEWS is from outside the bus. It shows the traffic light is clearly red as the bus approaches it. The horn on the bus is honked twice in quick succession just before the bus enters the intersection where it makes contact with a vehicle that was traveling eastbound on Orchard Road. That vehicle was then pushed into two other vehicles.

Yitbark was an employee of Transdev, which is a contractor used by RTD. He worked for them since December 2007, however in response to an inquiry on Friday, a spokeswoman for Transdev said he was no longer employed with the company.

RELATED: Arrest made in Lakewood fatal hit-and-run crash

An accident report from Transdev indicates that Yitbark started his shift at 3:26 a.m. that morning and notes that the video was reviewed and it shows Yitbark "opening and closing his eyes several times while approaching the intersection."

The report notes two unsafe behaviors contributed to the crash. They include:

  • Eyes on path/task
  • Operator is nodding off/closing eyes

The report, dated Aug. 26, shows that Yitbark did not immediately return to work due to pending alcohol and drug tests. It's unclear if those test results have since come back.

A section in the report about corrective action taken to make sure this type of incident doesn't happen again is marked "pending."

CSP initially indicated that the driver of an SUV might have been at fault for the crash. But after reviewing the video determined Yitbark was at fault. He was cited for multiple counts of careless driving resulting in injury, CSP said.

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