No charges in party bus death of girl, 11

No charges in party bus death of girl, 11 »Play Video
She was only 11 years old. Angie Hernandez died after falling out of a private bus window in Portland last September. Neither the bus nor the driver had city permits. It wasn’t until after it was too late that city inspectors discovered serious safety violations on board.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Multnomah County prosecutors said Thursday they will not charge a driver behind the wheel of a party bus when a 11-year-old girl tumbled from a window and died last fall.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office released a statement on Thursday outlining the reasons why they won’t file charges against driver Martin Ray Brouwer Jr.

The statement said there was no evidence Brouwer was criminally liable: He was not intoxicated and he was not driving dangerously or recklessly on Sept. 29 when Angie Hernandez fell and was crushed by the bus as it made a turn in downtown Portland.

Hernandez was among several children on board the bus celebrating a birthday party. She was sitting on top of a seat and fell backward through the window near the intersection of Southwest Harrison and Southwest First Avenue.

“He was turning at an appropriate and lawful speed and the manner of his driving was otherwise unremarkable,” the district attorney’s statement said. “In short, there does not appear to be any connection between the driver’s action and Angie’s death.”

To prove manslaughter or criminal negligent homicide charges, prosecutors must prove a driver was behaving recklessly or negligently and that his actions were the direct cause of a person’s death.

Brouwer will still be cited for failing to have a commercial driver’s license, the statement said. Now that the investigation is complete, prosecutors say Portland police will issue Brouwer the citation.

The party bus was owned by Five Star Limousine. Questions quickly mounted about the company’s licensing following the September crash.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration fined the company $59,030.00 and placed the company out of service. Because of the federal sanctions imposed, the Oregon Motor Carrier Division has not issued additional regulatory sanctions.

Also, the City of Portland Revenue Bureau Regulatory Division suspended the bus company and all of its vehicles for failure to have the required city permits for operating within the city of Portland.