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2 dead, 4 injured after bus catches fire in Las Vegas

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    Smoke filled the sky after a fire tore through a mini bus following a collision in Las Vegas on Saturday.

LAS VEGAS » A 24-year-old man was arrested Saturday on DUI charges following a crash at an intersection that left two people dead and four others injured after a fire tore through a minibus, police said.

Jonathan Donner, of Las Vegas, was charged with two counts of DUI resulting in death and three counts of DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

The accident happened around 7 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of South Main Street and Charleston Boulevard, fire officials said.

A BMW driven by Donner sped through a red light at the intersection and hit the minibus, causing the minibus to overturn, police said. The BMW then spun around and hit another car that was stopped at the intersection, police said.

The minibus and the BMW caught fire, police said. Three of the people inside the minibus were able to get out, and they were taken to the University Medical Center, while two others in the minibus were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Several firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but the bus was a total loss.

The people who were killed are a 53-year-old man from Las Vegas and a 34-year-old man from Germany, said police, who withheld their names pending notification of family. Those injured are Stefanie Kloeppel, 30, of Germany; Brian Zerbee, 39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Sara Zerbee, 34, also of Cedar Rapids. Donner suffered moderate injuries, and the driver of the second car was not injured, police said.

Juan Leon, 33, general manager of Casa Don Juan Mexican Restaurant, told the Las Vegas Sun that he was at work when he heard the crash. The restaurant is about a block south of the crash site.

"By the time we came outside, the van was on fire," he said. "The explosion was so big. A few cars stopped to try to help them, but there was absolutely no way they could help. We couldn’t do anything but sit and watch, really. It was really sad."

Valeria Valera, 25, was working at her business, Makers and Finders Coffee, near the crash site when she and an employee noticed people stopping and taking photographs in the road. They then saw the aftermath of the accident.

"The (mini bus) was completely on fire," Valera told the Sun. "Myself and the other girl just kind of freaked out. We were definitely spooked about what was going on."

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