Driver cleared in Rita evacuee bus fire

Nov. 15, 2005 at 8:18 AM
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DALLAS, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A bus driver accused of negligently causing the deaths of 23 Hurricane Rita evacuees in September has been cleared of criminal charges.

A Dallas County grand jury decided against indicting Mexican immigrant Juan Robles Gutierrez, 37. There was no further word from the court or prosecutors, the Dallas Morning News said.

Robles was initially labeled a hero who rescued his frail passengers from the burning bus on Interstate 45 in Wilmer. But, Dallas County sheriff's officials later said he never rescued anyone and was an irresponsible caretaker of a poorly maintained bus.

Robles meanwhile remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service in Houston as a material witness to an undisclosed federal investigation.

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