OPEN-TOP ACCIDENT

Tour Firm Out of Shuttle Lineup

By Allison Klein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Open Top Sightseeing has suspended the use of its double-decker buses as shuttles taking fans to Washington Nationals games while authorities continue to investigate an accident that killed two people.

James Rodio, an attorney for Open Top, said yesterday that the company is continuing its regular sightseeing tours in Washington. The company began offering those tours in April 2007.

Neither Rodio nor the Nationals would say when Open Top double-deckers became part of a fleet of buses used by the baseball team to ferry fans to and from the ballpark. Some fans said they began seeing double-deckers traveling to the ballpark recently.

The Nationals offer free shuttle service from the team's old home, RFK Stadium, to the new ballpark near South Capitol Street. Two men on a double-decker bus were fatally injured Friday night when their heads struck a freeway overpass in Southeast Washington.

"The company wants to extend its condolences to the families of the two individuals," Rodio said.

No charges have been filed. Rodio declined to discuss specifics of the accident, provide details about the shuttle route or talk about the driver's experience and history, saying that the case remains under police investigation. He also would not say whether the company plans to resume use of the buses for baseball games.

Joshua Stoll, 24, and Michael Feiock, 35, employees of a Virginia landscaping operation, were standing on the top level of the bus, which was westbound on the Southeast Freeway, when their heads struck the 11th Street overpass about 8:30 p.m. Friday, police said. Stoll died Friday night; Feiock died Saturday.

Officials are sorting through statements from the other 14 passengers on the bus to determine whether Stoll and Feiock were standing on their seats or on the floor when they were struck. Officials said witnesses have given conflicting accounts.

Police investigators were taking measurements of the bus and the overpass as they reconstructed the accident, police said. Both men were more than six feet tall, city officials said.

Police also are awaiting autopsy reports.

Rodio said the company posted signs on the top level directing passengers to remain seated while the bus is moving.

Feiock's mother, Kaye Vear of Geneva, N.Y., said in a telephone interview yesterday that she had not yet spoken with police about the accident. She said she wants to know what happened to her son.


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