An arrest warrant has been served in the greyhound bus crash that killed six people last July. “Undoubtedly this is the most tragic DUI crash in Fresno history,” says Elizabeth Egan, a Fresno County Attorney involved in serving the warrant.
For the past year, numerous criminal charges have been pending. Those facing potential legal action included the owner of A-1 liquor store, the 21-year-old friend who bought and purchased the alcohol for the minors involved and the owner of the home where the alcohol was consumed. After a yearlong investigation by ABC, CHP and the Fresno County DA’s Office, everyone was cleared of criminal charges except 21-year-old Michelle Kay Cole. “She [Michelle] has become the primary focus of many peoples wrath,” says Martin Taleisnik, Cole’s Attorney. “She's become the public face of this bus accident.” Cole is the friend who allegedly bought and gave alcohol to Sylvia Garay, Stephanie Cordoba and Vanessa Gonzales; the three girls inside the SUV that caused the crash. “It was one individual who decided to provide alcohol to the teenager,” says Egan. “The Fresno County DA has charged the friend, Michelle Kay Cole, with purchasing alcohol to minors which resulted in the death of 6 people.”
According to reports, Cole purchased the malt liquor and flavored vodka with the minors at A-1 liquor using her valid California ID.
Cole is the only one who could face jail time in the case. “She's a young woman who has suffered great loss; she's aware of the part she played,” says Taleisnik. She was served the arrest warrant and cited July 18th, 2011. The warrant issued is a misdemeanor and Cole could face six to twelve months in prison and a $1,000 fine. “Actions have consequences and sometimes deadly consequences,” reminds Egan.
Cole is expected to appear in court in late April.