A pedestrian found dead on a central Fresno street early Friday morning was struck and killed by a hit-and-run city bus, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Police took the FAX bus driver, 69-year-old Rudy Alderette, into custody on vehicular manslaughter charges, Dyer announced at a Friday afternoon news conference. The chief said Alderette told investigators he thought he had hit a box in the predawn crash. The man who was killed was identified as 62-year-old Javier Garcia Silva of Fresno, the Fresno County Coroner’s Office said.
Dyer said the deadly incident took place at 6:08 a.m. as Silva, who had the right-of-way, was walking across Shields Avenue from the northwest corner with Fruit Avenue. He was in the crosswalk as he walked south on Fruit crossing Shields. The bus driver was northbound on Fruit making a left turn from Fruit to proceed west on Shields when he struck the victim with the front of the bus. The back wheel of the bus then ran over the victim. Dyer said that a video, which captured the collision, showed that the bus brake lights briefly turned on before the driver proceeded on Shields.
At 6:10, a police officer contacted FAX officials, who used their GPS system to to track down the driver at Millbrook Avenue and Shields. Dyer said when Alderette was told that he had struck a pedestrian, he broke into tears.
Jim Schaad, in charge of the FAX system, said Alderette has been driving FAX buses for 18 years. He submitted to a blood test to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, standard procedure in traffic collisions involving commercial drivers.
The chief said that there was no indication that Alderette saw the pedestrian, but that as a driver, he had “a duty and responsibility to remain at the scene” of the collision.
The department’s Collision Reconstruction Unit is in charge of the investigation. There is also video evidence of the incident from a camera on the bus, Dyer said.