KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Court documents released Tuesday reveal eyewitness accounts of the semi-driver’s reckless behavior leading up to the bus crash in Warsaw.
Police released on Monday night the charges for 58-year-old Victor Santos: 26 felony counts, 22 of which are for criminal recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon, along with 4 counts of causing serious bodily injury while operating a vehicle.
New court documents detailed the officer’s interaction with the driver, who is from New York, at the scene of the crash. When asked to step out of the vehicle, Santos reportedly stumbled out of the truck. Police could smell alcohol on Santos, his eyes looked “red and glossy”, and his speech was “slurred and slow”.
Police said Santos- who is also a registered sex offender convicted of rape in 1999, court documents reveal- failed a field sobriety test and then refused a chemical test. A search warrant was granted, and the driver was taken that night to a hospital for a blood draw. The man’s blood-alcohol content was .13%, court documents reveal.
Officers talked with witnesses at the scene who were driving behind the semi at the time of the crash. Court documents said one driver had been following the semi in the area of I-69 and US 30 in Fort Wayne, and the car reportedly sped up to avoid the truck.
Sometime later, court documents said, the driver noticed the semi catching back up to them at a high rate of speed. The semi reportedly passed the car again on US 30, straddling the yellow line in the middle of the road and forcing the car off the side of the road to avoid being hit.
The driver reported the reckless behavior to police, and began to follow the truck again with their hazard lights on, estimating the truck was speeding at about 80 to 85 mph as they got closer to Warsaw.
Witnesses in another vehicle had been following the semi on US 30 since the Columbia City area. They estimated the truck was sometimes speeding at more than 90 mph.
All the witnesses confirmed to police the same details of the crash with the school bus, saying the semi did not attempt to stop at the red light to avoid the collision.