Nurse describes scene of tour bus accident

Save Story

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

CEDAR CITY -- Victims of the tour bus accident in Cedar City are still recovering Wednesday afternoon. The crash killed three people and injured 12 when the bus rolled Monday night.

Many are crediting people who stopped to help the injured at the scene, saying the injuries -- and perhaps the number of fatalities -- could have been worse without their help.

There are four people still recovering at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. They are in critical condition at the ICU. The rest of the injured are being treated at other hospitals in the valley as well as in Cedar City.

Nurse Kristi Christensen described the crash scene as "eerily quiet."
Nurse Kristi Christensen described the crash scene as "eerily quiet."

A total of 12 people were hurt and three killed in the crash. Japanese tourists were on the van-sized bus, in Utah to visit national parks. They were on their way to Bryce Canyon when the accident happened.

Troopers credit several people who stopped to help out, including off-duty firefighters from Las Vegas, a nurse, some EMTs and a teacher.

Wednesday, KSL spoke to an IMC nurse who happened to be driving in the area at the time of the accident, on her way back to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles. She helped to stabilize about a half dozen of the victims until the 13 ambulances from throughout Iron County arrived to the scene.

"There were cameras, luggage and broken glass everywhere," said registered nurse Kristi Christensen.

She described the crash scene as "eerily quiet."

"I just went into nurse mode right away. My husband, it was a little different situation, he was a little bit more, you know, in shock," she said. "It was like, where do I start? Who do I go to? I wanted to quickly see who was alive or not."

She immediately attempted to give CPR to one person who was beyond saving.

It was about five minutes before medical support arrived.

Christensen continued to help until the last patient was taken away -- all while her 3-year-old and 1-year-old children sat in the car. Christensen is also eight months pregnant.

"During that hour it was pure adrenaline. You just think, 'Okay, this person's the most critical, this person's okay.' You go into nurse mode," she said.

Christensen said the bus driver was the only occupant she found standing or walking.

"He was in shock," she said. "He was kind of in panic mode." The driver didn't offer a reason for the crash, she said.

As for the ongoing investigation, the Utah Highway Patrol says it's ruled out any mechanical problems as a cause to the accident. Teams inspected the 2006 Ford E-350 shuttle bus Tuesday and found nothing to indicate anything was wrong with the vehicle.

UHP says it's still looking into the possibility that the driver was drowsy at the wheel.

Prosecutors are considering whether charges are warranted against the driver, who is a 26-year-old Japanese citizen living in Las Vegas on a work and student visa.

A Nippon Travel Agency spokesman told the AP the fatalities were 20-year-old Hiroki Hayase, a 38-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman from Tokyo. They were ejected from the bus.

Investigators are also working with the Japanese consulate in Denver to notify families before releasing the names of the other two people killed.

Again KSL tried contacting the Sandy transportation company that owns the bus. They were unavailable for comment.


Story compiled with contributions from Nicole Gonzales and Paul Foy the Associated Press.

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast