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Casino-bound bus driver wasn't driving under influence, DA says

The driver of a casino-bound bus that crashed last week killing nine people, including the Modestan who owned the company, was not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to toxicology reports.

Quintin J. Watts, 52, was booked, however, today into state custody on a charge of parole violation after his release from Woodland Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated for injuries suffered during the Oct. 5 crash.

Watts' mother, Chaney Watts, of Stockton, said the initial suspicions about her son being drunk angered the family and flabbergasted her son.

Her son, who is diabetic, must take insulin shots and the doctor warned him that drinking would kill him.

"He told me, 'Mom, you know I don't drink,' " she said Tuesday.

Quintin Watts told his mother he went into a diabetic coma.

Immediately after the crash, CHP officials said they were detaining Watts on suspicion of DUI. That charge remains pending, CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader said today. She said it is CHP's policy not to release results of toxicology tests.

However, Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner said today that toxicology reports on Watts show he had no alcohol in his system and had not taken drugs at the time of the accident.

"I'm not filing charges until I get a report," Poyner said.

CHP officials said the accident investigation could take months.

Watts was driving a bus with 42 passengers bound for the Colusa Casino Resort when the bus veered several times across a small farm road, then rolled into a ditch just after 6 p.m. on a Sunday. Nine passengers died, including Modestan Daniel Cobb, owner of the bus and of Cobb's Bus Service.

Watts was being held by state corrections officials this afternoon at Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, pending an investigation into whether he violated parole by driving the bus without proper licensing, state corrections officials said.

"We're just beginning the process of looking at that now, whether or not to revoke his parole," state corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

Watts is on parole for a 2007 conviction in San Joaquin County for possession of a firearm by an ex-felon, state corrections officials said. He did not have a state authorization to drive a passenger bus, according to Department of Motor Vehicle records.

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