SAN JOSE, Calif. - Trial is still pending for the former owner of Party Bus Santa Cruz, who faces manslaughter charges.
Jon Reno St. James is charged with vehicular manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter for the July 27, 2012 death of Natasha Noland. He appeared in court Wednesday for what was supposed to be the setting of a trial date, but that proceeding was postponed. Santa Clara County prosecutor Matt Braker said St. James has fired his private attorney and is now seeking the services of the public defender's office. St. James is due back in court next month.
Noland, the daughter of Santa Cruz business owners, was on one of St. James' party buses returning from a concert in the San Jose area on the night of her death. She and another woman got into a fight, and both women toppled out the back door and onto southbound Highway 17. Noland was killed.
Prosecutors in Santa Clara County charged St. James in her death, arguing that as the owner of the bus company, it was his duty to ensure the buses were safe. He's accused of being negligent in maintaining the bus to ensure the safety of his passengers.