Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why I dont like Bus Drivers.

I held off on writing about this because I had a court date to go to and the event wasn’t resolves yet, but since we wrapped everything up yesterday its time to blog. Here is the story of how I got whacked back in April.
The background:
I set out for a nice easy recovery ride with Lauren. 95% of my rides start at my house and head down Devon State Road a 1.5 mile descent headed towards Valley Forge Park. Lauren and I were both doing around 30 headed towards the series of stop lights on our way to the park. I am leading, Lauren is maybe 15 feet back in my draft, we are riding maybe 6 inches off the white line on the side of the road. All of a sudden Lauren yells, immediately after the mirror of a white van flicks my left shoulder as it passes me. The rest of the bus is no more than 6 inches away from my bars as it passes me I manage to stay upright and not skip off the van. There is nobody coming up in the oncoming lane… I realize with the lights are ahead and if I gas it I can probably catch the van. Sure enough at the second light the van, which I now realize is a school bus for a local bus company is stopped in the right lane behind 3 or 4 other vehicles. The road in this location is two lanes on each side.
The Confrontation:
I approached the van on the driver’s side and gently tapped on the driver’s window to alert of the driver of my presence. Here is the fun part… The driver of the van was a middle aged Caucasian woman with short white hair. As I tapped on the window, the driver turned toward me, seemingly irate, and banged on the glass with her fist. The driver proceeded to scream profanity at me through the window. I stood there a bit shocked for a moment… is this woman serious… I think I asked in a confused voice “what the hell are you thinking”… While doing this the traffic signal turned green and the vehicles in front of the van began to move forward. The driver of the van then proceeded to swerve to the left hand lane while I was still located on the left hand side of her vehicle. She basically tried to run me over. A car expecting a clean lane and a green light had to slam its brakes to prevent from hitting both of us. I got the plate and the bus number, lowered my heart rate from about 190, and circled back to find Lauren, who at this point had caught almost all the way up and seen most of the incident.
Calling the 5/0:
Of course I don’t have my blackberry to call the police. We stop at the middle school on the same road and ask to borrow a phone; one of the teachers gladly lets us after we tell them I was just hit by a school bus. The local cops show up and I give them the story and the bus number. 2 days later I get a call from the responding officer letting me know he talked to the bus driver who claims she didn’t hit me and feared for her safety and the child on the bus (didn’t know there was a kid on the bus till now) so she felt just in trying to run me over. Ok so I paraphrased that last part. The officer agreed to write her up for careless driving, which would basically get her fired, if I agreed to come testify as a witness when she pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The court date gets set for early May. The best part is they made the driver pay a bond so she would show up in court. Something comes up a week before the hearing and I ask to have the date postponed. I have successfully pushed this whole thing out to July 7th. I am pleased.
The Day in Court:
I show up to the court which is literally less than a mile from my house. I arrive a few minutes early. In walks the bus driver and another man who I later learn is a rep from the bus company she works for. They are a fashionable 10 minutes late. Unfortunately the fashionable 10 minutes was completely erased by the jean shorts, t shirt white sneakers and tube socks the driver was wearing. The other lob at least had his (short sleeve button down) shirt tucked into his pants. They sit down near me and whisper to one another, “is that him” I find this comical, continue to smirk and tap out emails on my blackberry.
We are called into court and they realize they have been sitting next to me the entire time. Priceless.
The cop pulls me outside and to talk to me to see what my intent is here. He basically tells me if I take this all the way I can probably have her removed from her job as she would lose her special bus driver license if found guilty of this offense. I am an asshole, but I am not a vengeful person. I don’t want anyone to lose their job, chances are she would go on welfare or something and I would indirectly be paying for her anyways. I agree to allow her to plea down to basically a slap on the wrist and a couple hundred bucks in fines. I explained to the officer I just wanted the driver to be aware of what happened and to be held accountable. The important part is that neither my wife nor I were injured.
Go Back to Your Trailer:
The officer comes back in and explains to the driver and her crony that I have basically gifted them a plea bargain here, knowing that she could lose her job, etc. After explaining that the driver was going to get a “failure to obey traffic signal” he suggested that this was a much better option for her than to go to trail and have me testify. Merry Christmas in July. Here is where its gets fun. The bus company dude goes into a ramble about how professional his driver was. He made two comments that almost sent me yelling. 1) “My driver is so professional that she brought with her today an award (as he lifts a box with a pin in it) that she earned for years of service we came prepared today to go to trail and tell our side of the story”
2) “The fact that my driver did not report this event must mean that it was a minor incident and not worth reporting”
Number two really pisses me off; she didn’t even bother to tell her bus company about this. Number one is just poor logic. At this point I am overwhelmed by the arrogance of the pair. They continue to contemplate whether or not they want to take this to trial. I am praying they do at this point as I would have relished the chance to flat out embarrass the dumbass. The bus company guy then pushes further, “what traffic signal did she disobey exactly” “that doesn’t seem right” the cop tried his best to stay professional and not get frustrated. He explained that she didn’t obey any traffic signal and the court was basically giving her a break… I think this jarred the empty space from between the ears of them both because they realized that they could basically pay a nominal fine and keep her job. Geniuses.
I walked out with the cop and said “a bit on the arrogant side no? He agreed and made a comment in line with not believing what just happened. If the driver had done anything less than try to run me over, the story ended at the traffic light. A simple I’m sorry I passed to close ended the entire situation… like this time I got hit.
Cliff Notes:
I got hit by a bus, I didn’t get hurt/
The Bus driver tried to kill me after she hit me.
I called the cops.
We get a court date, I postpone it, the driver has to pay bond.
We go to court; I agree to let the driver plea down so she doesn’t lose her job.
The driver immediately makes me regret the act of kindness.
I made her stew over this for 3 months and hopefully ruined her holiday weekend.
She left with a lighter wallet.
Watch out for Krapf Bus 304.

1 comment:

Colin R said...

This story warmed my black heart! Thanks for taking a stand for sane people.