PALMDALE – A 20-year-old suspected DUI driver was arrested Tuesday morning after he allegedly rear-ended a school bus at a high rate of speed, causing a collision that killed his passenger, authorities said.
Douglas Fiddament of Pearblossom was booked at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and murder, due to his causing the death of his passenger while in the commission of a felony, according to Detective Brent Bunch of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
The bus driver was unharmed and no children were aboard the bus during the fatal collision, which occurred around 6:10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, on 40th Street East near Bella Vita Way in Palmdale, Bunch stated.
“The preliminary facts of this investigation indicate Douglas Fiddament was driving a stolen vehicle (1997 Dodge Ram) and trailer southbound on 40th Street East,” Bunch stated. “A yellow school bus driven by a school bus driver (name withheld) was parked on the west curb line of 40th Street East, just north of the intersection of Bella Vita.”
“The Dodge Ram driven by Mr. Fiddament collided into the rear of the school bus at a high rate of speed,” Bunch continued.
Fiddament’s male passenger, whose name has not yet been released, was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics.
Traffic was blocked off for nearly five hours on 40th Street East, between Avenue Q and Palmdale Boulevard, as the incident was being investigated.
Fiddament remains jailed on $1 million bail, and he is due in court Thursday, Jan. 15.
The investigation is ongoing.
UPDATE: The passenger killed in the collision has been identified as 33-year-old Manuel Lopez, according to Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.