Carbon monoxide poisoning likely in illnesses on bus bound for Reno

A commercial bus bound for Reno from Long Beach may have had a mechanical failure that sickened several of its passengers late Sunday night, Feb. 23, authorities said.

The bus, identified as an Amador Stage Lines vehicle, stopped in Bridgeport, at which point many of the passengers were sent by ambulance to nearby hospitals, where they were treated and released, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Although the exact cause of the illnesses suffered by several of the 50 to 60 people on the bus was not confirmed at press time, according to the CHP, the likely culprit was carbon monoxide poisoning that was the result of some kind of mechanical fault in the bus.

CHP Lt. Commander Ron Cohen said the investigation into the incident is continuing. He said that the CHP is involved because it routinely inspects commercial vehicles, such as buses.

He said Mono County Paramedics responded with three ambulances (Medic 7, Bridgeport, Medic 1, Walker, and Medic 2, June Lake). Multiple personnel from both the Mono County Sheriff's Department and Bridgeport Fire Department responded to assist CHP personnel, he said.

The incident occurred at about 9:20 p.m. Feb. 23.

Thirteen of the passengers from the bus were transported by ambulance, eight to Mammoth Hospital and five to Carson Valley Medical Center in Gardenerville, treated and released.

“It is a good thing they pulled over when they did,” he said. “Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. If they had continued into the Walker Canyon, they might have had all their windows up as it got cooler and not noticed the problem until it was too late.”

The passengers suffered from nausea, lightheadedness and dizziness, he said.

The bus has been impounded for evidence, he said.