An elderly couple is dead after a fatal bus crash that took place around 9:30 last night. Robert Rotta and Elizabeth Rotta were passengers in a Ford Escape that was struck by a Sound Transit bus. The driver of the Escape, Kendall Rotta, 51, is in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center. It has been assumed that Kendall is the son of Robert and Elizabeth.
According to witness accounts, the bus, en route from Bellevue to Lynnwood, was heading northbound as the Escape was heading westbound in Kirkland. The bus ran a red light near the Totem Lake freeway station. Aleksandr Rukhlin was driving the Route 535 bus and said that he couldn’t stop the bus because his brakes had stopped working. After crashing into Rotta’s vehicle, the bus continued to travel for nearly a half-mile before finally coming to rest. It had been carrying 35 passengers, none of whom were seriously injured.
The Washington State Patrol is still investigating the accident and it’s cause. The bus is just five years old and was up-to-date as far as maintenance and inspections go. Rukhlin gave a blood sample to be tested for alcohol and passed a drug evaluation. He is being fully cooperative in the investigation. There has not been a fatal Sound Transit bus accident since the buses began running in 1999.