Ex-driver, 22, facing misdemeanor in fatal Vegas bus crash

Ken Ritter (Associated Press) - May 3, 2016 - 12:18pm

LAS VEGAS — A 22-year-old has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges almost four months after the public transit bus he was driving jumped a curb, plowed through a passenger shelter and killed a 39-year-old woman on a sidewalk near the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said yesterday.

Jamal Nichols appeared in court last Wednesday on charges of vehicular manslaughter and failure to stay in a driving lane, and he was processed through the Clark County jail. He is free on bail pending trial July 13, according to court records. He could face up to a year in jail if he's convicted.

"He's heartbroken, like everyone involved in this case," said Nichols' defense lawyer, Robert Langford.

Prosecutor Eric Bauman said he wanted to review the police crash investigation before commenting.

Jooyoung Do, originally from South Korea, died of multiple injuries in the pre-dawn crash Jan. 9 on Tropicana Avenue a few blocks west of Las Vegas Boulevard, according to police and coroner reports.

Nichols is accused of negligently causing the crash, but Langford said onboard video doesn't show him doing anything unusual behind the wheel in the few seconds recorded before and after the crash. The video hasn't been made public.

The bus shelter was destroyed, leaving a piece of the structure stuck in the shattered front windshield of the full-sized articulated Regional Transportation Commission bus.

There were passengers aboard, but neither they nor Nichols were reported to have been hurt.

Nichols was dismissed after the crash by Keolis Transit America, contract driver provider to the RTC of Southern Nevada, company official Bill Marion said.

Nichols had driven a bus for the company for about a year, Langford said. He now works for a hotel in Las Vegas.

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