For release on April 9, 2015 CONTACT:
Matthew Braker, Deputy District Attorney
Homicide Unit
(408) 792-2531   PARTY BUS OWNER CONVICTED OF INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER   A jury this week found the owner of a Santa Cruz party bus guilty of involuntary manslaughter for failing to maintain the vehicle which caused a passenger to fatally tumble out from its faulty door.   Jon Reno St. James, 58, of Yucca Valley, knew of the broken door, as it had popped open on previous trips, and failed to have it repaired.   St. James, who was remanded into custody, faces a maximum of four years in prison when he is sentenced by the Hon. Julia Alloggiamento on May 29.   “What makes this case so sad is that this was an easy fix that could have been done in about half an hour,” prosecutor Matthew Braker said. “If the defendant had shown the slightest sense of responsibility this tragedy could have been avoided.”
 
On July 27, 2012, Natasha Noland, 25, was riding on the bus with more than a dozen passengers headed back to Santa Cruz after a Brad Paisley concert in Mountain View.   During the ride home Noland and another woman began to fight as the vehicle drove southbound on Highway 17 near Los Gatos. The two tumbled out of the broken bus door.   Noland fell underneath the vehicle and died from her injuries. The other passenger survived her injuries.   Evidence showed that the mechanic for the Party Bus had quit in February and St. James had not hired anyone in the five months leading up to the fatality.   After a month-long trial, the jury deliberated for two days before finding the defendant guilty.   # # #

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