WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Report Itemizes Chippewa Trails Bus Company Maintainence Records

A Minnesota newspaper is reporting that the charter bus company involved in a northwestern Wisconsin crash that killed five people had a mixed safety record.

The Chippewa Trails Incorporated bus crashed into a semi trailer that had jackknifed on the road and rolled onto its side, blocking both lanes of Interstate 94 near Osseo October 16th.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press obtained inspection records and found:

--The bus failed a state inspection July 1st.

--The bus was allowed back on the road hours after the inspection, after the problems were corrected. Federal investigators say those same brakes were out of adjustment at the time of the crash.

--Chippewa Trail buses failed nearly one-third of scheduled inspections performed by the Wisconsin State Patrol since 2004, resulting in seven buses being ordered off the road until repairs were made.

--The company fared better on 18 unscheduled roadside inspections performed since October 2003. Three buses or about 17% were taken out of service after the checks.

Chippewa Trails safety director Kurt Nelson says changes have been made in their repair policies to make sure similar brake problems don't repeat.

Investigators are also trying to determine if fatigue played a role for the semi driver.


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