Pedestrians struck by VTA bus

9
Police say the bus driver involved in this crash won't be cited. -Brian Dowd

Updated August 1

Two pedestrians were injured, one critically, when they were struck by a Vineyard Transit Authority bus Thursday night in Edgartown, according to Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer and other sources. A third person was injured when the bus came to a hard stop.

The injuries occurred on Church Street, where the VTA has one of its stops outside the visitors’ center.

Edgartown Police and Fire Departments, along with State Police, responded to the scene at 10:20 pm.

Two of the people have been released, and a third has been taken to a Boston hospital, Police Chief Bruce McNamee said. A week after the crash, police are refusing to release any names citing the ongoing investigation.

A State Police accident reconstruction team has been brought in to investigate.

The crash is also on film, because VTA buses have cameras.

Details of how it happened have not been released. Police interviewed the bus driver, who has not been identified, and he is cooperating. The chief said the driver passed a Breathalyzer test, and is also being urine-tested. Those results are not yet known.

Jimmy Alvarado, executive chef at Isola, said he was just leaving work before the accident. Smoking a cigarette, he crossed Church Street heading to his car when he heard a “loud bang.”

“It was pretty loud,” he said.

He turned around and saw people gather in the road. “As I got closer to the scene of the accident, there were two guys — both on the road. One of them was still on the sidewalk, like his head was on the sidewalk, because he fell and he hit … a pole there. The bus was in the middle of the street. So he was just laying there bleeding basically out of his head.”

Alvarado described the man with the head injury as conscious and vocally “in pain.”

The other victim lay in the road. “He was hurt, I guess, from the impact from the bus. I think he was going to be OK,” he said. Both men appeared to be in their mid-30s, he said.

“I told a couple people not to touch them and to leave them there,” he said. “The EMS got here pretty fast.”

Alvarado recalled the bus driver rushing out of the bus. “He was nervous and shaking the whole time,” he said.

Alvarado was stumped at how the accident happened. “They were crossing the street. How could you miss the bus?”

He was also jarred. “I was a bit shaken. I ride a motorcycle. So I’m like — anything can happen in an instant [if you] don’t pay attention.”

McNamee said Det. Dayce Moore and a trooper from the State Police accident reconstruction team will lead the investigation.

Three nurses who were nearby at the time of the accident rendered “invaluable aid” before EMS personnel arrived, McNamee said.

State Police cleared the bus, which was not electric, to be repaired and return to service Friday, VTA administrator Angie Grant told the Times over the phone call.

Grant also said the driver involved in the accident took a chemical test which came back negative. The driver, who was a seasonal employee, “chose to end his employment,” she said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, a labor organization that is negotiating a contract between VTA drivers and their operations manager Transit Connection Inc. (TCI), offered its sympathies to the victims of the crash in a statement Wednesday.

“On behalf of VTA operators and members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, we would like to offer our sincerest sympathies to the victims involved in the Thursday, July 26th crash involving a VTA vehicle. Out of respect to the victims and their families, we will not comment on the details of this specific tragedy at this point. We feel compelled, however, to inform the public that we have warned VTA management in the past of our fear that crashes similar to this would becoming increasingly likely to occur. We believe changes can be made to prevent them, but those changes require addressing serious, systemic issues plaguing the VTA and the contractor it uses to manage the service, Transit Connection Inc. (TCI). Mismanagement, mistreatment of workers, and especially a lack of proper safety precautions have created a perfect storm that will inevitably lead to more tragedies,” the statement said.

Grant declined to comment on the union’s statement because she had not read it yet.

Two pedestrians were injured, one critically, when they were struck by a Vineyard Transit Authority bus Thursday night in Edgartown, according to Fire Chief Alex Schaeffer and other sources. A third person was injured when the bus came to a hard stop.

The injuries occurred on Church Street, where the VTA has one of its stops outside the visitors’ center.

Edgartown Police and Fire Departments, along with State Police, responded to the scene at 10:20 pm.

Two of the people have been released, and a third has been taken to a Boston hospital, Police Chief Bruce McNamee said. Police are not yet identifying any of the people injured.

A State Police accident reconstruction team has been brought in to investigate.

The crash is also on film, because VTA buses have cameras.

Details of how it happened have not been released. Police interviewed the bus driver, who has not been identified, and he is cooperating. The chief said the driver passed a Breathalyzer test, and is also being urine-tested. Those results are not yet known.

Jimmy Alvarado, executive chef at Isola, said he was just leaving work before the accident. Smoking a cigarette, he crossed Church Street heading to his car when he heard a “loud bang.”

“It was pretty loud,” he said.

He turned around and saw people gather in the road. “As I got closer to the scene of the accident, there were two guys — both on the road. One of them was still on the sidewalk, like his head was on the sidewalk, because he fell and he hit … a pole there. The bus was in the middle of the street. So he was just laying there bleeding basically out of his head.”

Alvarado described the man with the head injury as conscious and vocally “in pain.”

The other victim lay in the road. “He was hurt, I guess, from the impact from the bus. I think he was going to be OK,” he said. Both men appeared to be in their mid-30s, he said.

“I told a couple people not to touch them and to leave them there,” he said. “The EMS got here pretty fast.”

Alvarado recalled the bus driver rushing out of the bus. “He was nervous and shaking the whole time,” he said.

Alvarado was stumped at how the accident happened. “They were crossing the street. How could you miss the bus?”

He was also jarred. “I was a bit shaken. I ride a motorcycle. So I’m like — anything can happen in an instant [if you] don’t pay attention.”

McNamee said Det. Dayce Moore and a trooper from the State Police accident reconstruction team will lead the investigation.

Three nurses who were nearby at the time of the accident rendered “invaluable aid” before EMS personnel arrived, McNamee said.

Brian Dowd contributed to this story. Story has been updated to include information from VTA and union. -Ed.

9 COMMENTS

  1. The street is too dark. One would think bus stop would be more well lit. The same goes for the cross walks at Stop and Shop. Someone will be killed there eventually.

    • Salt– the street is dark– you would think you be able to see the headlights of a bus coming at you better in the dark. if the street were lit up more , do you think they would have seen the bus easier ?
      obviously , they weren’t paying attention.. do pedestrians not have some responsibility for their own safety ?

  2. how can you get hit by a bus ? well, we don’t have information yet, but based on my observations of people walking around looking at their phones, I’m thinking the bus driver is not at fault– it’s a wonder this doesn’t happen every day. Walk facing traffic people– and ride your bike with traffic..

    • you obviously are mistaking me for someone who blames Hillary, Obama, “fake news” and “libs” in general
      I rarely “blame” trump for stuff- I just point out stuff he does or says..

      • Don3, you are correct….after I submitted the comment, it did read that you blame Hillary, etc all…us on the right know you never blame them….anyway, I enjoy reading your comments, even tho’ I totally disagree with them most of the time…FYI, I am not a racist, bigot, homophob, or whatever else you label people who vote Republican…I am educated (MS Mech. Eng), a vet like you (thank you for your service)….I just hope you were not smoking the stuff you were selling your shipmates when you were loading in the firing coordinates of your 5 inchers…I think you’re intelligent enough to know that many folks in this country think differently than you and they are also not racists, etc. Keep on commenting….It’s enjoyable to read the banter you inspire/provoke between the lefties and righties

  3. I don’t know why, but people on vacation often walk or stand in the middle of the road. Menemsha is particularly bad.

  4. I’ve almost hit pedestrians numerous times. Often the just walk out into the road from beween 2 parked cars which are taller than them. I also see people walking around at night staring down at their phones and not looking before they step out into the road. I actually had a guy step in front of my bike on the bike path, again looking down at his phone and just darted right in front of me. It’s amazing that more people don’t get hit.

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