A University Transit Service bus ran into Beta Bridge early Wednesday morning, damaging the University landmark. Virginia State Trooper Joseph Crabtree, who arrived at the scene, said the cause of the collision is still being investigated.
The driver said he parked the bus, set the emergency brake, stepped off the bus, boarded again and headed toward the back of the bus to pick up trash. It was at this time that he noticed the bus was rolling backward toward the bridge.
Crabtree and David Durrer, a mechanic with the University Department of Transportation who inspected the bus, are determining whether the crash was the result of brake failure or driver error. At the moment, Crabtree said it is "not clear what happened," adding he did not think any students were on the bus during the collision.
Depending on the conclusion of the inspection, the driver may be charged, Crabtree said. If brake failure occurred, however, that may not be necessary.
The Beta Bridge collision is the second incident involving a UTS bus this week. A bus waiting at the intersection of Lee Street and Jefferson Park Avenue was turning left onto Jefferson Park Avenue when it struck a pedestrian crossing the road Monday morning. The bus did not turn until the traffic light was green, Crabtree said. The pedestrian, who was not affiliated with the University, was taken to the University Medical Center and released a few hours after admission. The pedestrian did not sustain any injuries but complained about pain when Crabtree spoke with him at the hospital.
The cause of this first collision is still being investigated, as well.
"For all I know," he said, "this could just be a bad week."
-compiled by Kate Colwell