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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

MTA Bus Apparent Culprit in Mystery

November 17, 2000

SYLMAR — The California Highway Patrol said Thursday it may have solved the mystery of the slippery freeways. The apparent culprit? An MTA bus leaking oil.

At least 15 times over the past 10 days, transition roads linking the Ronald Reagan Freeway with the Golden State and San Diego freeways were covered with a slippery substance, according to CHP Officer Wendy Moore. The substance was blamed for a minor injury accident Nov. 7, she said.

CHP cruisers staked out the interchange early Thursday morning and pulled over the bus about 4:30 a.m. as it drove from the Ronald Reagan Freeway onto the San Diego, Moore said.

The tires of the CHP officer's car following the bus became coated with oil, she said, and "there was enough oil to coat the surface of the roadway."

The 40-foot bus is owned by the MTA but is maintained and operated by Coach USA under contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, officials said. It normally carries passengers from Ventura Boulevard in Studio City to the Metrolink station in Chatsworth, but no one was on board during Thursday's predawn run.

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