CHP: Mechanical failure possible cause of fatal crash on Highway 20 | TheUnion.com

CHP: Mechanical failure possible cause of fatal crash on Highway 20

A 32-year-old Idaho man was killed when the converted bus he was driving suffered a mechanical failure and crashed on Highway 20 Monday evening, officials said.

Lukas Ross was driving a 1981 Bluebird-style bus, that had been modified into an RV, westbound and had just passed the Omega rest stop at about 5 p.m., said California Highway Patrol Officer Greg Tassone.

Ross was heading down a very slight grade with a curve near Chalk Bluff Road when some type of issue — possibly with the braking system or steering — caused him to lose control, Tassone said. The bus did not make the curve and instead continued in a straight line, crossing the road into the oncoming lane, going off the road and up a 10-foot embankment.

In an attempt to escape injury, Ross opened the door of the bus and jumped out, Tassone said. But when the bus hit the embankment, it overturned on top of him.

"He was crushed under the rear of the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene," Tassone said.

CHP and emergency personnel were on scene until about 9:45 p.m. with one-way traffic controls for much of that time.

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Tassone said the bus would be thoroughly inspected during the investigation into the cause of the crash.

Ross is the 10th person to die in a crash on Highway 20 this year. Tassone noted the CHP's Grass Valley office has been looking into the circumstances of each incident to determine if there is any commonality.

"At the moment, we are seeing a lot of different causes," he said. "Why is (the number of fatalities) so high on that corridor?"

DUI driver appears in court

A Grass Valley man charged with drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter after the death of his passenger Saturday night appeared in court Tuesday.

Joshua James Robinson, 33, is also facing special allegations of having a blood alcohol level of more than 0.15 percent in connection with the wreck, which occurred on Highway 20 westbound near White Cloud Campground after he reportedly made an unsafe turn to the right.

The truck ran off the road and rolled over multiple times, killing 35-year-old Dylan Shively, also of Grass Valley.

Robinson told Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger he is still seeking to retain an attorney, and deferred his entry of plea to Thursday.

Heidelberger declined a request to lower his $100,000 bond, after Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong objected, citing his 0.179 blood alcohol content.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.