California DUI news
Follow-up to below story from previous week:
The driver of a casino-bound bus that crashed last week killing nine people was not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to toxicology reports. Quintin J. Watts, 52, was booked today into Yolo County Jail on a charge of parole violation after his release from Woodland Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated for injuries suffered during the Oct. 5 crash.
Watts' mother, Chaney Watts, of Stockton, said the initial suspicions about her son being drunk angered the family and flabbergasted her son. Her son, who is diabetic, must take insulin shots and the doctor warned him that drinking would kill him. "He told me, 'Mom, you know I don't drink,'" she said October 14,2008. Quintin Watts told his mother he went into a diabetic coma.
Immediately after the crash, CHP officials said they were detaining Watts on suspicion of DUI. That charge remains pending, CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader said today. She said it is CHP's policy not to release results of toxicology tests.
However, Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner said today that toxicology reports on Watts show he had no alcohol in his system and had not taken drugs at the time of the accident. "I'm not filing charges until I get a report," Poyner said.
CHP officials said the accident investigation could take months.
California DUI defense attorneys at www.SanDiegoDUI.com report Quintin Watts had a lengthy criminal record, a history of substance abuse and a string of motor vehicle offenses. Even his mother allegedly says he wasn't a good driver.
Yet on Sunday he was behind the wheel of a busload of senior citizens and Laotian immigrants traveling to an American Indian casino north of Sacramento. Eight people were killed and 30 others injured when the bus, owned by Cobb Transportation, ran into a ditch and overturned.
California DUI defense attorneys at www.SanDiegoDUI.com are told there's a possibility that the 52-year-old Stockton man may have been on prescription or nonprescription drugs. He was arrested Monday as he lay critically injured in his hospital bed. His condition had improved to fair, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.
The accident was at least the eighth serious crash in the U.S. in the last three years involving buses carrying people to and from casinos.
Watts didn't have the proper license to transport more than 10 people, said Fran Clader, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol. Investigators also said the bus had an invalid license plate.
Records show Watts had been cited for speeding and other violations that resulted in the loss of his license for nearly two years. He regained his driving privileges last January.
His mother allegedly said he had wrestled with drug and alcohol problems, was jailed several times on drug charges and had smashed a car into a tree a few years ago, though neither he nor a friend who was in the car was seriously hurt.
"He wasn't the best driver," she said. "He knew we didn't want him to drive."
A witness said the bus carrying the driver and 42 passengers to Colusa Casino Resort drifted off a rural two-lane road before the driver "overcorrected" and swerved back. It overturned and rolled completely over, ending up on its wheels facing the opposite direction.
Watts' criminal record dates back to 1981, when he served state prison time for receiving stolen property. He also served time in 1996 for check fraud and credit card theft. Beginning in 1998, he spent more than a year in prison for alleged possession of marijuana for sale and possession of a destructive device.
His latest state term was for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon. He was paroled in December 2007 after almost six months in prison, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
California DUI defense attorneys at www.SanDiegoDUIlawyer.com understand John Poyner, district attorney for Colusa County, said it will be at least two to three months before the full accident reports are in and any charges are filed. Blood test results are not expected for two to six weeks.
Watts was among eight people injured in the crash who remained hospitalized Tuesday. Families flooded hospitals looking for relatives who may have been involved in the crash. Mai Cha, 74, has a broken rib, face and right wrist. With tubes in her mouth, she cannot speak, according to California DUI defense attorneys at www.SanDiegoDrunkDrivingAttorney.net.