LOS GATOS -- Nearly five months after a Santa Cruz woman fell out of a bus on Highway 17 and died, police have released few details and no charges have been filed.
Natasha Noland, 25, was among a group of people on a party bus coming home from a concert just before midnight July 27 when she and another woman got into a fight and fell out the back door.
The other woman, a 20-year-old Felton resident, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, but Noland died at the scene.
The incident, which was selected by Sentinel staff as one of the top news stories of the year, happened after the group attended a Brad Paisley concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre. The 12 to 15 people aboard were all intoxicated, with the exception of the driver.
Noland, a 2005 graduate of Santa Cruz High School, is the daughter of Pacific Wave surf shop owners Todd and Sue Noland. She worked at the Pacific Avenue store as the women's buyer.
Friends and co-workers described Noland as a vivacious person who enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She was known as a fun person who enjoyed fashion and country music.
The accident prompted renewed calls for increased regulation of party buses.
The bus Noland fell from was operated by Party Bus Santa Cruz. The company's owner, Jon Reno St. James, has declined to speak with the Sentinel.
Party Bus of Santa Cruz, through parent company Jon Reno St. James LLC, has a license issued by the state
The California Highway Patrol has not released additional information about the accident. The agency's findings have been turned over to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
A representative for Santa Clara County prosecutors said the report is under review. Charges may be filed, or prosecutors could decide there isn't enough evidence.
After the incident, a number of people contacted the Sentinel to share their experiences with Party Bus Santa Cruz.
Dave Martone was a passenger on the bus in October 2011 on a trip to a distillery in Alameda County. The bus was late, the bathroom was dirty and he said the front door didn't seem to close completely.
He told the Sentinel that he called St. James to complain but didn't get an apology. It was unknown whether Martone was on the same bus as the one involved in the fatal accident.
Meanwhile, efforts to crack down on party buses have moved forward.
As part of a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, party buses with alcohol and underage passengers will require chaperones and ID checks as of Jan. 1. Authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, the law aligns drinking rules on party buses with existing rules for limousines.
Hill initially penned the law in 2010 after Burlingame teen Brett Studebaker was killed.
Studebaker, 19, had been drinking on a party bus during a friend's birthday celebration and later drove into a sound wall on Highway 101 near San Mateo.
Under the new law, bus drivers who fail to check identifications or have chaperones may face a potential misdemeanor charge. The party bus company can be fined up to $2,000 and face a 30-day license suspension or license revocation.
Follow Sentinel reporter Jessica M. Pasko on Twitter at Twitter.com/jmpasko96