Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bus Crash Leaves Lots of Room to Find Fault

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bus Crash Leaves Lots of Room to Find Fault

Article excerpt

On Monday, a Port Authority bus veered off the Parkway North and careened down a hillside embankment. The driver, Juliann Maier, managed to crawl out of the wreck after the bus came to rest on its side on Evergreen Road.

A Post-Gazette story Wednesday noted another bus - which like the first was carrying no passengers at the time - was videotaped driving closely alongside Ms. Maier's before the crash. The story contained this jaw-dropping sentence: "The video showed that the male operator of the other bus stopped, got out briefly, then drove away without reporting the crash."

Now, if it is possible for someone to register a more ice-cold reaction to a bus crash and the likely injury of a colleague, I'd like to make that person the front-runner for the 2014 "Indifferent Neighbors of Kitty Genovese Indifference Maker Award" instead of this driver, now identified as Thomas Frauens, who left the scene without calling dispatch.

Fortunately, Ms. Maier is alive, though with some serious injuries. She's been cooperating with investigators at the hospital. Neither driver is willing to cop to PAT's charge that they had been engaged in some kind of horseplay with their empty buses before the crash. But any story about a PAT bus tumbling down a hillside while another bus that had been only inches away continued on its merry way is bound to raise a million questions.

The Port Authority referred to a video the Post-Gazette hasn't seen that allegedly shows the drivers gesturing toward each other, apparently in a friendly manner, just before the crash. PAT initially described the drivers as reckless, which is a fairly rare tone for an agency known for resorting to understatement.

Were the drivers involved in some sort of drag race down the Parkway North, which has been one possibility raised? Or was it a nothing-too-out-of-the-ordinary accident, as a union rep for the drivers has suggested?

I'm not going to lie. When I first came across this story in Wednesday's paper, I was hoping more for the former than the latter. Who wouldn't want to live in a town where the bus drivers are so epic that they occasionally engage in behavior that would make Formula One racers think twice? …

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