According to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro), the Metro bus driver that was killed in an accident in South Houston this past week was the first transit driver to be killed on the job in over 20 years.
After completing his morning route on Thursday morning, the 40-year-old Metro bus driver was heading back to the Hiram Clarke Bus Operations facility to return the articulated bus (one that bends in the middle). Around 8:30 am, as he was headed south on Texas 288 near South MacGregor Way, the bus struck a dump truck.
After striking the dump truck, it is believed that the 40-year-old driver lost control of the bus. The bus spun into a column at a railroad overpass, breaking in half. According to emergency medical personnel, the driver died at the scene of the accident. Because it was the end of his shift, there were no passengers on the bus at the time of the accident.
Crash investigators have received several conflicting reports from eyewitnesses and are still trying to determine if the driver may have suffered a heart attack or some other medical condition which caused him to lose control of the bus in the first place.
Metro officials noted that the driver had an accident-free record prior to the tragic bus crash. They also told the media that the articulated bus was one of 32 left in the Houston fleet, but they were being phased out so that newer model busses can be added. Metro officials also noted that extra training is required to operate an articulated bus and the 40-year-old driver had been properly trained.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Metro bus driver killed in Texas 288,” 6/24/11.