Medford National Guard unit uninjured in Manzanita bus crash
A driver is being investigated on suspicion of driving impaired after crashing a bus carrying nearly four dozen local servicemen and women.
Kenneth Alexander, 44, allegedly showed signs of impairment at the time he lost control of the bus and ran off the road at 7 a.m. Tuesday on Highway 101 in Manzanita, according to a news release issued by Oregon State Police.
None of the 46 members of the Army National Guard’s 1-186 Infantry Regiment out of Medford were injured after the bus left the roadway, hopped a curb and became stuck on a grass embankment, according to police. Alexander was taken to a nearby hospital to be evaluated.
The troops were en route from the Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center in Warrenton to Portland.
Witnesses told police they were concerned Alexander had been driving distracted and “showing signs of impairment” in the moments leading up to the crash.
The bus was headed southbound on Highway 101 when Alexander missed a turn near Seaside onto Highway 26, witnesses said. Alexander assured the troops on the bus that he knew the route to Portland and continued southbound on Highway 101.
“The passengers grew concerned over the driver using his cellphone and showing signs of impairment at the same time the driver lost control of the bus and crashed into the sidewalk,” the release says.
The city of Manzanita opened its city hall to the servicemen and women until another bus arrived.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Alexander had not been charged with a crime. The crash was still under investigation, and OSP’s findings will be forwarded to the Tillamook County District Attorney’s Office.