New Jersey Transit Bus Driver Indicted For Preventable Death

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Every time a motorist gets behind the wheel of a vehicle in New Jersey, a duty of reasonable care is owed to others in the roadway. That is as true for bus drivers for New Jersey Transit as it is for anyone else. Indeed, we all expect that those individuals who operate vehicles for public transportation in our state will do so safely and with due regard to all traffic laws and rules of the road. One long time NJ Transit employee was recently indicted for her role in what authorities say was the preventable death of a pedestrian that had just gotten off her bus.

The fatal accident occurred in late Sept. 2012. The 49-year-old victim was in a crosswalk at the time of the collision. The indictment alleges that the bus driver recklessly ran a red light, struck the pedestrian and killed him.

The bus driver has been employed by NJ Transit for 25 years. She has indicated that she is not guilty of the charges set forth in the indictment, and her formal arraignment on vehicular manslaughter charges was scheduled for Feb. 25. She could be sentenced up to a decade in state prison if she is convicted, and it was reported that she has not operated a NJ Transit bus since the fatal accident.

Understandably, it is tragic when anyone loses their life in a New Jersey motor vehicle accident. When the circumstances suggest that it was a preventable death, the victim’s surviving family has options under our laws. Regardless of the outcome of the pending criminal proceedings, the family has the right to pursue a wrongful death claim against the bus driver and her employer. If a vehicular manslaughter conviction is obtained in criminal court, proof of that may be offered in a related civil court action as evidence of liability.

Source: The Trentonian, “NJ Transit bus driver indicted in fatal accident,” Feb. 16, 2013

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