Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Sroeuy Khin was driving home from work on Friday morning, May 12th, when his Volkswagen Beetle was rear ended by a private charter bus. The bus accident was reported just after 7 a.m., and the CHP quickly shut down the three far left lanes on eastbound I-580. Mr. Khin was pronounced dead at the scene. He would have turned 51 years of age on Saturday.
The bus was carrying 51 Tesla Motors employees, traveling around 65 miles when it crashed into the Volkswagen. Only one passenger suffered minor injuries.The car itself was badly crushed, and Mr. Khin’s body needed to be forcibly extricated. He would be draped by an American flag before being removed from the roadway. A police escort accompanied his van as it traveled to the Downtown Oakland coroner’s bureau.
The CHP investigation continues into the causes for the bus accident, and says the driver of the bus could face criminal charges. Drugs and alcohol are not suspected to be causes for the crash, and the driver is cooperating with the investigation.
A Tesla spokesperson released a statement confirming the involvement of their employees with the accident.
“We are deeply saddened by reports that there was a fatality as a result of the accident. We will lend any support that we can to the authorities who are investigating the incident.”
Unsafe road conditions a factor in this bus accident
Reportedly, Mr. Khin’s Volkswagen was slowed or stopped in the number two lane. Currently, there is no explanation for why the Volkswagen was not traveling at speed with the rest of the traffic. The question on the minds of investigators now is how any of this could have happened.
There are multiple possible explanations. Unsafe driving is a common factor in many accidents. Equipment failure on the bus or car is also a concern, with a greater focus on the bus. Operators of bus fleets are expected to provide regular maintenance and inspections. This does not always happen.
However, mechanical issues for the bus do not appear to be the factor. The driver of the bus claims that the sun was in his eyes at the time of the accident. This prevented him from seeing the Volkswagen until it was too late. If the bus driver indeed could not see the road in front of him, the bus may not have been able to stop in time due to its size and weight.
The driver’s story is confirmed by Tesla employee Bun Soth, one of people present for the bus accident. Soth claims he wanted to sit at the front of the bus, but that the sun during the commute home was too bothersome. He decided to sit near the middle of the bus in order to rest on the way home.
“I could’ve probably sat on the front seat,” Soth said, “and I could’ve possibly helped prevent that situation.”
Second bus accident death in three months for Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies
In February, 60-year-old Michael Foley died after an inmate bus stuck him at the Santa Rita Jail parking lot. The driver of the bus claimed that he did not see his fellow employee when the accident happened. He lost consciousness on the way to the hospital, and died while on life support the next day.
“It’s too much too soon,” said Sheriff Greg Ahern. Sroeuy Khin had been one of his first hires at the Alameda County Sherrif’s Department. “He’s just a hardworking guy trying to take care of his family the best he can.”
Mr. Khin leaves behind his wife, and four children.
Featured Photo by: Michael Macor, The Chronicle.