UTA apologizes for runaway bus incident

Local News
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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The Utah Transit Authority is apologizing after a May 5 incident involving one of its buses that injured at least one passenger. 

UTA released surveillance video Wednesday of one of their buses which was stopped on Foothill Drive May 5 due to an overheated engine. As the driver left the bus to investigate, the video shows the doors close and then the bus begin to roll. 

The bus rolled 60 feet as frantic passengers tried to gain control of the driverless bus. 

Two passengers, Kathy Fellows and her friend Rachel Straheli, rushed to the front of the bus, as Straheli hopped into the driver seat to slam on the brake. 

Meanwhile, the video shows the driver frantically beating on the doors as the bus begins to roll downhill. 

ABC4 spoke with Fellows, who said she was injured in the incident. 

“Everyone went flying,” she said. “I fell and landed on my back and injured my arm.” 

UTA investigated the incident and found the driver followed all protocol when it comes to inspecting the bus after it overheated. Chief Safety Officer Dave Goeres said the only step missed was applying the parking brake. 

“I want to apologize that one of our passengers was injured in her efforts to support the operator,” said Goeres in a statement. “Something like this should never happen and I want to assure the public that UTA is taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

UTA said the operator has been retrained on proper protocol. UTA also said notices have been posted in bus garages to remind operators of the need to apply the parking brake. 

Fellows said she is grateful Staheli had the presence of mind to jump in the driver seat and apply the brake. 

“She’s the hero of the day,” Fellows said. 

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