9Wants to Know has also learned that an RTD supervisor knew the driver was confused about his route before he got on the highway going in the wrong direction.
RTD and CDOT say the driver drove around a closed gate and ignored "Do Not Enter" signs before driving north in the southbound lanes of I-25 around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Drivers had to swerve out of the way of the bus as it went north. There were no collisions, but several close calls that RTD acknowledges could have caused deaths. The driver did not get off the highway until he reached 58th Avenue.
The driver, whose name has not been released, had several years of driving experience with RTD, but he was unfamiliar with the route up I-25. He previously worked in a different section of the metro area and was filling in on the morning route to and from Park and Ride stations north of downtown Denver.
RTD says the driver was so confused, he pulled his extra-long bus into the 16th Street Mall shuttle turnaround.
A supervisor then asked him where he was going, and after giving him directions to the Market Street station, radioed dispatch to tell them about the problematic driver.
RTD says a dispatcher spoke to the driver about his route, but did not get a response.
It was during that period that the driver went into the HOV lane going the wrong direction.
"We are looking into all of what transpired prior to, during and after the bus operator entered the HOV lanes and headed in the wrong direction and that's part of the investigation we're going through right now," RTD spokesman Scott Reed said.
RTD says its investigation includes looking at what happened with the supervisor and the dispatch center, but says responsibility ultimately lies with the driver.
As a fill-in, RTD says the driver got a detailed route card the night before and more instructions before getting behind the wheel on Wednesday morning.
9Wants to Know has also learned that the Colorado State Patrol will not ticket the driver unless another commuter can identify his face and testify it in court. Even if RTD handed over the driver's name and information to investigators, it would not satisfy CSP's guidelines, according to a CSP spokeswoman.
A driver who swerved to avoid the oncoming bus told 9Wants to Know Investigator Kyle Clark she did not get a good look at the driver.
"I was more focused on not getting hit by the bus," Holly Nickerson said.
The bus was not carrying any passengers at the time of the incident.
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