San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bus in Fatal Accident Lacked Permit

The bus that crashed into a ravine on Tuesday, killing a mother and her 1-year-old son was not authorized to be on the road, transportation officials said Wednesday. According to the Transportation Ministry, the bus company, Transporte Unidos Alajuelenses S.A. (TUASA), has permission to operate 99 buses, but does not have on their list the bus with license number SJB-8818 that ran off the road early this week.

Vice Minister of Transportation Maristella Vaccari confiscated the bus and called for an immediate investigation.

Meanwhile, the family of 25-year-old Jenny Alvarez and her son continues to mourn after the sudden loss of their daughter, wife, and friend; a young woman they remember as “caring.”

Alvarez was walking home from the nearby Mas x Menos supermarket with food to prepare lunch. Her 5-year-old nephew and 7-year-old brother ran on ahead of her and she trailed behind, pushing her young son in a baby carriage.

When the TUASA bus veered off the road, she wasn’t able to get out of the way, and she and her son died before the bus dropped 50 meters into the Río Torres.

The 55 passengers aboard miraculously escaped death, but many were transferred to the hospital with injuries ranging from minor to serious.

According to witnesses, the bus was traveling in the left lane when a cargo truck cut it off. The bus driver couldn’t stop in time, slammed into the back of the truck and lost control. Preliminary reports alleged that the bus was traveling at an excessive speed.

But Traffic Police Assistant Director Marcelo Morera said it was difficult to know the speed of the bus at the time of the accident.

“The signs say the limit is 90 kilometers per hour,” he said. “Normally, traffic travels at a faster rate, but we can’t say the velocity for sure.”

The road, which is part of the

Inter-American Highway

, remained closed from the noontime accident until 6 p.m. as emergency crews continued rescue operations and conducted investigations.

–Chrissie Long

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