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Bus Driver Abandoned Tourists Because of a 'Medical Problem'

December 27, 1987|From Associated Press

A bus driver who stranded a group of European tourists at Universal Studios and drove away with their belongings said through her attorney Saturday that she did it because of a medical problem, authorities said.

The bus was discovered early Friday parked at a downtown intersection. All the tourists' possessions were found inside.

Nathan Halprin, an attorney for Deborah Bowens, 40, contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and offered an explanation, Detective Rod Shanks said.

"There was no foul play involved," Shanks said. "She admits to parking the bus where it was found. She said it was due to a medical problem, possibly involving her back, I believe."

The woman has not said, however, why she drove the bus from the lot of the popular Universal City attraction on Thursday afternoon, against the bus company's regulations, he said.

"You'd think if she had some medical emergency, she would have someone call. But she didn't," Shanks said.

Halprin did not respond to phone messages left with his answering service Saturday seeking additional comment.

Officials of Las Vegas Tours of Lawndale put the passengers up at a downtown Los Angeles hotel Thursday night, authorities said.

The bus--containing passports, money and luggage that belonged to the 23 Swiss and German tourists--was found about 3:30 a.m. Friday at an intersection near downtown.

The tourists took a plane to San Francisco on Friday morning to continue their vacation, Shanks said.

Bowens had worked for the bus firm about four months, J. Tom Saunders, a company supervisor, said. He called the driver "a dependable young lady" and said he was baffled by her disappearance.

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